Wake up Jabari and Ebled, it’s game 3 and no one has felt your presence

Boston eeked out the first game and handily won the second in this best of seven series. Flat out, they have been the more fundamentally sound team. For instance, 22 second-chance points is the reason why the Bucks shot nearly 60 percent from the field, yet still lost by 14 in Game 2; that’s just unacceptable from the outside looking in.

Bucks series

Jabari Parker (Photo by slamonline.com)

The Bucks need to go small, play Jabari Parker more, but he must prove his worth on defense. Many times it seems like he wants no part of it, not even a little contact. A player like Parker requires minutes and more than 10. In game two he was a ghost, no points, two rebounds and that is not going to get it done against Boston, real talk. Can Prunty get Parker involved early in game 3?

Another big area of concern for Milwaukee is Eric Bledsoe being outplayed handily by Terry Rozier. Rozier is a backup point guard, but a solid player. Ebled has struggled mightily in this series. He is shooting 9-25 and has only dished out eight total assists. If we look at Rozier’s play, he’s shooting 15-32 from the field and has 11 assists. He makes the right decisions, isn’t forcing anything and has been an excellent facilitator in place of Kyrie. This has been the difference up to this point in the series.

Let’s be honest. Bledsoe plays fast and is exciting. But when you drive in the lane quick, you must drive with a purpose. He isn’t doing the best at that, constantly up in the air with very few passing options. The Boston team defense salivates when he does this. This type of basketball in the playoffs will never get the job done.

Let’s hope the Bucks commit to team defense. Watching them play, as opposed to watching the Philadelphia/Miami series is like comparing apples to oranges. Milwaukee, simply put, isn’t on that level. In the playoffs, winning doesn’t involve just offense, you must make your opponent work for their baskets.

If these key players continue to fail to show up, and their defense doesn’t tighten the noose, you are possibly looking at a sweep. Giannis needs more than just his own efforts to get W’s and I believe things will turn around for Milwaukee in game 3. If it doesn’t, this series will be finished soon.

 

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Celtics vs. Bucks series preview

It appears the Milwaukee Bucks like their chances against the ailing Boston Celtics. They got smoked against Philly–riding a 16 game win streak, in their last game of the year. This is an intriguing matchup, Boston without its star Kyrie Irving, while the Bucks are at full health and with a star of its own in Giannis Antetokounmpo. It will be a high contested closely matched series the entire way through.

Regular season summary

Boston Celtics

Celtics vs. Bucks series preview

Jayson Tatum (Photo by bostonherald.com)

Given all of the injuries Boston had to deal with, they faired very well in 2017-18. They were in first place for a good portion of the season, but with a few key injuries and the stellar play of Toronto, dropped to the number two seed. Gordon Hayward went down in the first game of the season, and we recently found out that Irving would miss the remainder of the season.

Jason Tatum would shine in his rookie season and Jaylen Brown has developed nicely. It will be interesting to see how Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin fill in for Kyrie. Al Horford will definitely have a favorable matchup against the underweight John Henson. Marcus Morris has been playing lights out the tail end of the year and with the coaching of Brad Stevens we are in for a competitive series. Boston will remain in games because of their team defense, which was the fourth best in the league.

Milwaukee Bucks

Celtics vs. Bucks series preview

Giannis Antentokounmpo (Photo by thecomplex.com)

The Bucks have proven all season that are capable of beating any team, but at the same time can lose to any organization as well. Issues that plague Milwaukee are overall defense and a big man to go up against other big men.

Giannis is constantly improving and Khris Middleton is the best mid-range shooter in the league. Eric Bledsoe has come on strong towards the end of the year and had a stellar overall year. Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova are returning from injuries that have hurt them towards the end of the year. Jabari Parker coming off the bench and staying healthy is a huge piece of their equation; he must play well for the Bucks. The offense has been there all season for Milwaukee, but will their defense show up in the playoffs? Time will tell.

Prediction

The Bucks will end up prevailing in five games. They will split the first two games in Boston, which will set them up for a finishing game in Boston. A missing Kyrie Irving greatly impacts the outcome in this one, otherwise, Boston would take the series in five. It’s impossible to replace a team player of his greatness and with Hayward out as well, it’s extremely impressive they remained the number two seed. How much game do Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier have in them?

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