The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls in 5 games, and will now go up against the Boston Celtics this Sunday. As for the C’s—they may have swept the Brooklyn Nets, but it’s going to be a completely different beast to move past the reigning champs. Luckily for the Celtics—all-star Khris Middleton will be out for the entire series. Here’s what the Celtics need to do to move to the eastern conference finals.
The former MVP has been averaging 29.9 points and 11.6 rebounds this season. If the Celtics want to move past this championship experienced team, they’ll need to find a way to slow Giannas down. Maybe coach Ime Udoka will do the same thing the Miami Heat did in 2020 by forming a wall anytime Giannas tried to drive the ball. However, his game has gotten more diverse. Giannas’ scoring has spread to nearly all spots on the floor. Maybe the C’s will take the same approach they did against KD in the first round. Either way, the Celtics will first need to form an effective way to stop Giannas before they do anything else.
Jayson Tatum steps up… again
In the first round we saw Jayson Tatum take it to KD on both ends of the floor. Tatum made the buzzer beater in game 1 to kickoff the series sweep. Now sports fans are debating whether Tatum ascended past Durant. In this series, he needs to step up even more to beat the defending champs.
Defend the perimeter
One special weapon the Celtics have defensively is their size. They have big and experienced Al Horford, their rim protector Robert ‘Time Lord’ Williams now back from a torn meniscus, And Daniel Theis always playing hard. It’s the back court defending that may be their achilles heal. Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart is certainly a big help, but with Jrue Holiday, Pat Connaughton, and Grayson Allen the Bucks may use their speed to catch the C’s off-balanced. If the Celtics can limit shots made behind the arc, they also should feel comfortable about the points in the paint.
Jaylen Brown will need to step up offensively
When Tatum fouled out in game 4 against the Nets, the Celtics struggled to put points up on the board. Jaylen Brown lost the ball multiple times whenever he was forced to play iso ball. In this series, the Bucks will find a way to try and force the ball out of Tatum’s hands. That will leave more open shots and opportunities for Brown to get the Bucks and knock down shots. If he can stay consistent on making open shots, the Milwaukee defense will be forced to stay balanced and have problems.