The Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics are coming off dominant series wins in the first round. The Celtics took care of the Kevin Durant and the seven-seeded Brooklyn Nets in four games. Meanwhile, the Bucks split the first two games in Milwaukee versus the Bulls, then dominated the next three games, winning by an average of 23 points to close out the series.
Both teams showed that they are more than capable of winning the championship this year. Milwaukee is looking to defend their title from a season ago. As for Boston, they are looking to get redemption from 2019. The two teams faced in this same round, the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where the Bucks dominated the series 4-1. The series this year will be more competitive than three years ago.
Superstar Showdown- Antetokounmpo versus Tatum
Young players have made their way through the NBA ranks, making names for themselves as the years pass. Two great examples are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum. Both have been the stars on their respected teams, clashing again in the playoffs. Tatum was just a second-year player when the Bucks and Celtics last met in the playoffs, now matured, the two face off in their primes.
Tatum is coming off a spectacular first-round series versus the Nets, averaging 29.5 PPG while shooting at an efficient clip. Giannis had the same type of impact in his series against Chicago. The 27-year-old averaged 28.6 PPG in five games.
Head-to-head this season, the two have averaged astronomical numbers: Giannis with 28.3 PPG and Tatum with 31.3 PPG.
Key to the Series: Role Players
Basketball isn’t all about the stars. Role players have an important task on championship-level teams. The Celtics and Bucks have pieces on their team that fit this narrative. For the Bucks, Boby Portis is that guy. He has stepped up to be a reliable scoring option for Coach Budenholzer. The fan-favorite is also a rebounding machine, collecting double-digit rebounds in all but one game against Chicago. He will be a big part of the game plan versus Boston.
For the Celtics, Grant Willams, the kid from Tennesee, is one to keep an eye out for. Coming off the bench, Willams can create a spark with his shooting. During his three years in the league, Williams has improved his three-point shooting by a wide margin. It has made him a key role player for Boston as of late. Williams is also a great defender inside, giving teams a headache when attacking the rim.
There are multiple players on each team that can impact this series. Portis and Williams are two that are highlighted for their impactfulness already.
Who Advances to the Conference Finals?
The series between these two teams will be as tough as ever. There is a ton of talk that it will go the full seven games, which would not be surprising in the slightest. It’s tough to gauge how the series might lean because no one saw the Nets getting swept. So who knows? Making a prediction right now, the Bucks take the series in a long seven-game marathon. The way Grayson Allen has stepped up in the absence of Khris Middleton, can the Celtics limit that?
Boston’s focus will be on Giannis, so guys like Grayson Allen and Bobby Portis will have to continue to play well. The key for Milwaukee will be its defense. The Bulls were very limited offensively due to the Bucks’ ferocious defense. They will have to lean on that to stop Boston’s attack.
The matchup will be fun, with it all starting on Sunday in Boston at 1 pm EST/12 pm CT. This game will kick off NBA playoff second-round action.
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