Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
How the teams match up for an Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series:
60-22 (Home: 33-8, Road: 27-14)
1st round: def. Detroit 4-0
49-33 (Home: 28-13, Road 21-20)
1st round: def Indiana 4-0
Season series: Milwaukee won 2-1
Key stats: In their sweep of the Pistons, the Bucks scored 120.2 points per 100 possessions on 58.3% effective field-goal percentage (a stat which adjusts for three-point shots being worth more than twos). Both were tops in the first round in the East. The Celtics gave up just 95.8 points per 100 possessions, tied for best in the first round in the conference, but no team had a higher percentage of turnovers per 100 possessions than the Celtics (16.7%). Of the players who have 50 playoff appearances or more, Boston’s Kyrie Irving has the best winning percentage (43-13, 76.8%).
Outlook: Both teams were dominant in their first-round series, setting up a slugfest in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Bucks have been the best team in the Eastern Conference for most of the season, leading the conference in offensive and defensive efficiency. Likely most valuable player Giannis Antetokounmpo coasted through the first round, averaging 26.3 points and 12.0 rebounds while making more than half his shots. The Celtics will need Irving to be better than he was against the Bucks in the regular season. In three meetings this season, he averaged 21.7 points on 38.8% shooting. Marcus Smart, who is one of the best perimeter defenders on the Celtics, is expected to miss the series with an oblique injury. The Celtics have lots of talent, still, but the Bucks have been one of the most consistent teams all season.
Dan Woike’s Prediction: Milwaukee in 7
Gm 1 Sunday at Milwaukee, ABC, 10 a.m.
Gm 2 Tuesday at Milwaukee, TNT, TBD
Gm 3 Friday at Boston, ESPN, TBD
Gm 4 May 6 at Boston, TNT, TBD
Gm 5 May 8 at Milwaukee, TNT, TBD
Gm 6 May 10 at Boston, ESPN, TBD
Gm 7 May 13 at Milwaukee, TNT, TBD
Games 5-7 if necessary, times PDT