Pro Basketball Playoff Preview — Game 3: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

The Boston Celtics were considered by many to be very banged-up and ready to be taken, perhaps in an upset in the opening round of the playoffs. The series against the Milwaukee Bucks isn’t necessarily a litmus test for them, but it’s been a pretty good indicator of the ingenuity of head coach Brad Stevens. And now Boston has an opportunity to grab a 3-0 lead in this Eastern Conference playoff series if they can come away with a win on Friday night, with the action tipping off at 9:35 PM ET at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. If you are a BetAnySports customer, you can place wagers even after the opening tip, as you tap into what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
Game 1 was a thriller, with Boston winning by six points in overtime despite 66 combined points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton. The Celtics had to get some balance in the scoring attack and that is exactly what they got, with no less than five players tallying between 19 and 24 points. Boston’s defense forced 20 turnovers, and the Celtics were able to limit Milwaukee’s second chances.
In Game 2, the Bucks got 25 from Middleton and 30 from Giannis, not to mention additional offensive spark from Shabazz Muhammad and Malcolm Brogdon off the bench, but the Celtics held down their own turnovers (just five) and once again did a good job of keeping Milwaukee off the offensive boards in a 120-106 win.
So here we are. And in the pro basketball playoff odds posted at BetAnySports, the Bucks are laying points at home:
Milwaukee Bucks  -5
Boston Celtics  +5
 
Over 205 points  -110
Under 205 points  -110
There is no question about the fact that Boston comes into this series short-handed. Actually, they have played the entire season that way, as Gordon Hayward, one of Stevens’ former charges at Butler who went on to NBA stardom and was thought to be that “missing ingredient,” played only a couple of minutes before going down with a broken ankle. And Kyrie Irving, who came in the trade that sent Isaiah Thomas off to the Cleveland Cavaliers,. and proceeded to score more than 24 points a game to lead the team, was lost for the playoffs with a knee injury. Then throw in the thumb injury to Marcus Smart, a key defender (which will keep him out until the second round) and there is quite a bit to compensate for.
Lucky for them, Stevens is known as one of the sharpest people in the coaching ranks. Of course, people should have figured as such when he led Butler, a team without “blue-chippers,” to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA title game. There is a defensive concept with the Celts that has been consistent enough that this team ranks #1 in the NBA in Defensive Rating. And part of that is Terry Rozier, who has done a great job of annoying Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe. He’ll be counted on to do the same in Game 3.
And is there anyone on the Milwaukee side who can deal with Jaylen Brown? Last year’s first-round drat pick (third overall), whose scoring average jumped from 6.6 to 14.5 this season, has thrived when given more responsibility in the offense, with 50 points on 51% shooting so far.
The Bucks have shot almost 54% from the field, which is more than commendable. And they have that great 1-2 offensive punch. They are fully capable of winning this game, but we don’t feel it will come easy, especially against this Boston team that is 19-5 ATS in the underdog role. So we take the points.
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