Bucks vs. Celtics Game 2 Predictions

Bucks vs. Celtics NBA Playoffs Game 2 Picks: Will Tatum and Brown Show Up?

The Boston Celtics look to get back on track when they host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of their second round series.

The Bucks went into TD Garden and came away with a 101-89 win and a 1-0 lead behind 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Here’s a complete breakdown, including betting odds and free NBA picks.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Tuesday, May 03, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at TD Garden

The Celtics opened at -4 at Everygame and BetOnline set the total at 215 in their NBA odds board. FiveThirtyEight has the Celtics as 5-point home favorites, projecting them to win 69 percent of the time. There’s a small gap between the projections and the actual odds, should we take the road team and the points or hammer the total? 

Game 1 Recap

Boston had an early lead but Milwaukee soon took control and didn’t let up. The Bucks held strong during a long stretch in the third quarter when Giannis Antetokounmpo went to the bench with four fouls. The C’s offense, meanwhile, struggled miserably, finishing 28-for-84 from the field (33.3 percent) in the loss, including just 10 2-point field goals. The Celtics suffered a scare when Marcus Smart left late in the second quarter with a shoulder injury but he returned to this very physical contest.  

The Bucks entered the series as underdogs. with Khris Middleton expected to remain out and they still have a long way to go, but they were able to take a big first step by stealing home court advantage. 

The Celtics made 18 3-pointers, a number that would normally win most games but the Bucks forced them to take 50 of them, which means that they scored virtually no easy points. As mentioned before, in the entire game the Celtics made just 10 2-point shots (second-fewest ever in a playoff game, trailing only the Houston Rockets in 2017). Unsurprisingly, the Celtics also lost both the free-throw and rebounding battles.

Prediction

Giannis had a monster game with a 24-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist triple-double on 9 of 25 from the field and Jrue Holiday added 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals on 8-for-20 shooting.

The Bucks locked up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in Game 1. The Celtics need to get a lot more from their two stars if they want to beat the defending NBA Champions, even without Khris Middleton: 

Jayson Tatum: 21 points, 6-for-18 from the field
Jaylen Brown: 12 points, 4-for-13 from the field

Tatum and Brown combined to shoot 10-for31 (32.2 percent) and this can’t happen again or the Celtics will be in an 0-2 hole. Boston contained Giannis’ slashing at times, so he kicked out again and again until the defense collapsed. Then he ate himself. Special mention to Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez are all great role players and they came up huge for the Bucks.

You cannot win playoff games without getting easy points. The Celtics don’t rely on getting to the basket but they can’t live or die by 3-pointers. The Bucks scored 21 points off turnovers and 14 more points in the paint than the Celtics. Boston has to close the gap in those numbers to have a chance in Game 2. I see the Celtics playing much better, particularly Tatum and Brown but this is still a very high total.

NBA Pick: Under 215 (-110) at BetOnline

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