May 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks to shoot against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) during the first quarter during game six of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
If the Boston Celtics (52-24, 24-15 away) have any real plans of securing the top seed in the East’s NBA Playoff Bracket, a win over the Milwaukee Bucks (55-21, 30-7 home) in the final of their 3-game regular season series is an absolute must.
Boston didn’t do itself any favors last game, getting crushed by an undermanned Washington Wizards’ side. The Bucks. though, will be playing their second game in as many nights after a marathon win over the Pacers Wednesday.
Milwaukee missed both Khris Middleton (knee) and Jae Crowder (calf) vs Indy, but they should be a go in this one. The C’s are dinged up a little, with Robert Williams (knee), Grant Williams (illness) and Payton Pritchard (knee) all questionable.
The battle atop the East goes Thursday (March 30) at 7:30pm ET from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. You can watch it live on TNT.
|Boston Celtics||+3 (-110)||+130||Ov 236.5 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-3 (-110)||-150||Un 236.5 (-110)|
The NBA odds have the hometown Bucks as 3-point favorites, and -150 on the moneyline — an implied win probability of 60%. The game features a total of 236.5.
Milwaukee is tied with Cleveland for the most home wins in the East with 30. Boston, who trails the Bucks by three games with just six to play, have the 2nd-most road wins in the NBA, with a sparkling 24-15 mark.
Odds as of Mar 29 at DraftKings. See the latest on Massachusetts sports betting.
After dismantling the opposition to win three straight, Boston felt the same hurt in a 130-111 loss to the Wizards, who were down both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma.
The C’s defense allowed the Wiz to shoot 54.5% from the floor, while getting outrebounded by five and going -3 in the turnover department.
We weren’t able to stage a comeback tonight in DC. pic.twitter.com/LKq6zTvZTN
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 29, 2023
Jayson Tatum had 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists to pace Boston, while Jaylen Brown had 18 points, three rebounds and four assists.
A top-7 shooting team from distance, the Celtics were held to an abysmal 11-for-44 night, just a 25% clip.
After averaging 129.7 points in their last three games in wins over the Spurs, Pacers and Kings, Boston was held to its lowest scoring output since mid-March.
They had held both San Antonio and Indiana sub-100 in the last two, but gave up 130 points for the fourth time this season, winning just one time.
Perhaps the biggest success in Milwaukee’s 149-136 win over the Pacers on Wednesday was that they did it without having to push their stars to major minutes for them to do major damage.
Jrue Holiday went for a career-best 51 points on a tidy 20-for-30 shooting, adding eight rebounds and eight assists. while Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable in a triple-double performance, with 38 points, 17 rebounds and 12 dimes.
JRUE HOLIDAY. HOOPER.
51 PTS (career-high)
What a performance 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vuqeUcaX7X
— NBA (@NBA) March 30, 2023
Both stars led the Bucks in minutes played with 32. Brook Lopez was the third starter to hit double figures, with 21 points, eight boards and three blocks.
That was the highest-scoring output for Milwaukee this season, but the second time they’ve topped 140+ in the last five days. They clubbed Utah 144-116 on March 24.
Milwaukee finished their 4-game road trip with three victories, but the defense, which surrenders 112.8 points per game (12th) was not exactly potent. The Bucks surrendered 124.5 points during the trip, which, although a small sample, would easily rank as the NBA’s worst.
We’ll see if they can outscore their problems against a Boston team that ranks third in scoring at 118 points per game.
This is a matchup of two teams at the top of the NBA Championship odds, with Boston (+310) just slightly ahead of Milwaukee (+320).
Boston has had more betting success on the road in this head-to-head, going 18-7-1 against the spread in the last 26 stops in Milwaukee.
While the rest advantage could play a factor, the Bucks are the NBA’s best in the back-to-back scenario, going an amazing 9-1-1 ATS in 11 games playing on consecutive nights.
I think the total is where we should be targeting, though. These teams have cruised past the total in their previous two matchups, going for better than 250+ points both meetings.
Throw in the fact that these two have hit the over in eight of the last 10 in Milwaukee, and the number for this one actually seems low.
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.
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