The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have traded blows in the first two games of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
As the series moves to Milwaukee for Game 3, we break down the series so far and make our prediction on who will win Saturday.
Here is what you need to know before wagering on Game 3 of this NBA Playoff series.
Saturday, May 7
3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Milwaukee is a -3 favorite on the spread against Boston, taking -145 odds on the moneyline. The Celtics are +125 on the moneyline and the Total Points Over/Under is 213.
The Bucks have a 3-2 edge in the last five meetings between these teams, winning two of those games at home. The Celtics are 4-1 against the spread in those games. All time the Celtics are 114-109 against Milwaukee.
The Series so far
Milwaukee was dominant on both ends of the floor in Game 1 at TD Garden, winning 101-89. They held the Cs to just 33-percent shooting from the field, had a 54-48 rebounding advantage and had a 28-8 edge in fastbreak points. They led by as much as 17 points and had six more field goal attempts than Boston.
Game 2 was a far different story. The duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum came up big with 30 and 29 points respectively, while Grant Williams added 21 off the bench. The combination of Robert Williams and Al Horford were aggressive on both ends of the floor against Giannis Antetokounmpo. Horford finished with 11 rebounds and 11 points while Williams was a +12 on the floor.
The Celtics also flipped the script in Game 2, shooting better than 46-percent from beyond the arc while holding the Bucks to under 17-percent. They had a 40-37 rebounding edge and limited Milwaukee to 6 fastbreak points.
Who has the edge in Game 3?
This is going to be a long and taxing series for both teams. It has been punch, counterpunch so far. While the Celtics were able to limit the Greek Freak’s attempts to barrel down the court to the bucket in Game 2, the Bucks were still hammering the paint all night. There is seemingly no defense for Antetokounmpo, who can get down the court in three dribbles, lower his shoulder to contact, often getting the call and the score.
The most glaring stat in the Game 2 box score is 2 points from Brook Lopez. He and Bobby Portis are the secret ingredient to Milwaukee’s success. They tipped things toward the Bucks in the Finals last year and need to be active and aggressive to out-muscle these Celtics.
While nobody can truly guard Giannis, the same is true about Tatum and Brown. Jrue Holiday is the best bet to slow one of them down but he can’t guard both. The Celtics have a real shot at unseating the defending champions even after surrendering home-court advantage.
For Game 3, we are expecting a response from the Bucks. The first two games ended with large winning margins, reflecting one team imposing its will. From here on, it is going to be a much tighter series of games. The Bucks will get the win in this one by 3, but do not take a spread any larger than that.