Round 2: Celtics vs. Bucks

Who wins?


  • Total voters
    126
  • Poll closed .

benhogan

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My estimates for MPG in this series
Kyrie 38
Horford 36
Tatum 35
Brown 28
Baynes 20

Hayward 31
MaMo 24
Rozier 18
Semi 10


I expect Brad to play small quite a bit. I only see Theis getting minutes if Baynes is still hobbled. I'd like to see Brown get more minutes, but he seems like the most likely to get punished for missing an assignment.
 

snowmanny

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We should have this thread by now.

Some good history in this series (Celtics win last year); some bad (Bucks sweep in 1983 that led to Bill Fitch getting sh!tcanned).

I will be watching cautiously, having been burned multiple times by this frustrating Celtics group, thinking they had turned the corner, and finding out they had...not.

Bottom line is, if they can't beat Milwaukee without home court advantage, they weren't winning a title. Hopefully Brad has a playoff rotation ready to go, and the C's send a message in round two.
1983 was irrelevant because the Celtics weren't getting past Philly. I had very little problem with it at the time and even less by the time 1984 started.

1974 was a pretty good year. ED: Oh and of course 1987 was one of the most underrated epic series ever and included this ridiculous game:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/198705100MIL.html

There is some reasonable chance that the playoff Celtics are actually significantly better than the regular season playoffs. There is some reasonable chance, specifically, that Al Horford ticks up a notch again, Hayward is actually improved, Tatum gets rolling like he did last spring, Brad Stevens returns to outreaching people, and Kyrie flat out wins a game or two by putting up 41. Me, I put those all those chances playing out at 51%.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This resonates with me, nice post.

How can the Celtics do a better job limiting the dribble penetration of the Bucks guards? I’ve often felt like that was their biggest advantage. I’d rather force them into shooting 3’s than allow those guys to break down the defense the way they have in the past.
You need laterally quick wing defenders at every position because they move the ball so quickly and in secondary transition. I expect Morris to start and match up with Lopez as he’s quick enough to contest on the perimeter and big enough to deter Lopez from dropping deep on the box for an easy layup.

This is what makes the Bucks so good.....it’s pick your poison. What is the price to consistently prevent dribble penetration by not closing out hard to contest 3’s? I don’t have their unguarded 3 numbers but if you turn a 34% 3-pt shooter into say a 42% shooter by not contesting hard it plays into the Bucks analytical hands.
 

JohnnyTheBone

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radsoxfan

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21% seems about right. The Bucks are really good, best point diff in the NBA by a huge margin, but the Celtics have a real, non-remote chance of winning.
That’s about where I’m at as well. The Bucks were WAY better than the Celtics this year, have home court, and no crippling injuries (I’m surprised Brogdon is still out to be honest, but think he likely plays this round at some point).

I am cautiously optimistic the Celtics are turning a corner but even an improved Celtics team and a B performance from the Bucks might end up in a series loss for the Cs.

I could be persuaded 21% is a bit low given how Hayward is playing now, but they are still clear underdogs to me. Perhaps a 1 in 3 chance to win if I put on some rose-colored glasses.

Enough to be excited and hopeful for the series at least, which is more than I expected at a few different points this season.
 

lovegtm

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I like MaMo to guard Lopez or Mirotic, not particularly quick guys. They want to stay on the perimeter and won't expose MaMo defensively around the rim.

If Giannis plays 36mins then 10 physical mins from Semi & 26 mins from Horford.
If you think MaMo is good against Lopez, you should want him playing 30+ mins a game imo. 5 out lineups with shooting are the best way to play Lopez off the floor, which in turn is a way to cramp Giannis’ spacing.
 

benhogan

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If you think MaMo is good against Lopez, you should want him playing 30+ mins a game imo. 5 out lineups with shooting are the best way to play Lopez off the floor, which in turn is a way to cramp Giannis’ spacing.
Just for clarity, I never said MaMo was "good" against Lopez. I just don't think he will be exposed guarding a passive perimeter oriented BIG. MaMo is a terrible defensive player that rarely rotates around the rim to help his teammates. That's why his defensive numbers have been awful for two years running. Meanwhile, Baynes will guard Lopez, rotate better than MaMo and help Al with Giannis at the rim.

I also think Kyrie, Tatum, Horford, and Brown are better than MaMo offensively. So I'd like a player (Baynes) that puts those 4 in a better position to score by screening. As long as AB sets a quality screen, Lopez will fade to the lane, and leave an open 3 for Kyrie, Brown, Horford or Tatum. If you like playing 5 out, MaMo is the 2nd worst (22%) out of 148 players (>50 attempts) at the corner 3 in the NBA. So do you put him above the break instead of Brown? Al? Kyrie? or Tatum? That would put the ball in his hands too much.

If you really want 5 out, Gordon Hayward would be the better choice IMO.

I like MaMo playing with the 2nd unit where he's not taking shots away from our more efficient offensive players and he can be more comfortable against lesser/2nd unit opponents.
 
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maufman

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I'm just not in agreement that Horford can afford to be on Giannis all game. Is it worth it for Horford to be in early foul trouble? I agree with Horford being the best option, but I think only in key situations. I'd just end up doubling him and making others make shots.
I respectfully disagree with the bolded part.

The Bucks are second only to the Rockets in 3PAs. That’s because teams have been doubling Giannis and making other guys beat them. The league’s best record and point differential say that didn’t work.

You’ve got to rotate defenders on Giannis and make him earn his points, then keep everyone else in check. One reason I’m relatively bullish on the C’s is because they have a bunch of guys who can *sort of* defend Giannis — which is really all anyone can do against him. The Bucks are rightly favored, but I think this is the Eastern Conference matchup they like least. I expect a hard-fought, 6 or 7 game series.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Smart was jogging on a treadmill today per news reports. There is some hope that he might be able to make it back for the end of this next round though its probably overly optimistic.
 

Big John

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I agree that Horford is the best option on Giannis--at least in crunch time-- because Brown, Ojeleye and Theis won't get any respect from the refs and it will be a parade to the free throw line.
 

teddykgb

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Apparently it's about 2 weeks sooner than he was expected to be jogging again, when he gave his update a few days ago.
These things never work. I’m sure he will force his way onto the court if they get down because he’s a hard bastard but count me out on the concept of healing two weeks ahead of schedule
 

TripleOT

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Morris is going to play GA a lot. I can't see Brad wanting to get AL in foul trouble early. Wasn't Morris supposed to be this tough guy Big 3/Undersized 4 that was supposed to match up with the LeBrons and the Giannis' of the league in the playoffs?

IIRC, that's how Stevens played both Simmons and GA last season -- start with Morris on them, to body them up and make them work for theirs, and then use AL in key spots to get big stops.
 

benhogan

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Morris is going to play GA a lot. I can't see Brad wanting to get AL in foul trouble early. Wasn't Morris supposed to be this tough guy Big 3/Undersized 4 that was supposed to match up with the LeBrons and the Giannis' of the league in the playoffs?

IIRC, that's how Stevens played both Simmons and GA last season -- start with Morris on them, to body them up and make them work for theirs, and then use AL in key spots to get big stops.
Morris didn't start any games in the 76ers or Bucks playoff series last season.

Starting or playing our worst defensive player on one of the best offensive players in the NBA is a recipe for disaster. Unless the game plan is for MaMo to just foul Giannis hard 6X.
 
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TripleOT

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Morris didn't start any games in the 76ers or Bucks playoff series last season.

Starting or playing our worst defensive player on one of the best offensive players in the NBA is a recipe for disaster. Unless the game plan is for MaMo to just foul Giannis hard 6X.
So much for my memory.

The point I was unsuccessfully trying to make is Morris in theory could be the big body to deal with Giannis for much of the game, so AL doesn't get in foul trouble. AL will be playing GA in crunch time, for sure.
 

Sprowl

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Whatever happened to the MaMo that was advertised as the league's best defender against LeBron? Was that all post-hoc approval for Ainge's haul in return for one year of Avery Bradley?

Or is it possible that Morris' best defense is played against a lead power forward whose game (layups, dunks, kick-outs and drop-offs) is predicated on starting with the dribble?

I think we'll see lots of Morris on the floor, SoSH's despair notwithstanding, and that's the best rationalization I can concoct. :unsure:
 

amarshal2

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Morris didn't start any games in the 76ers or Bucks playoff series last season.

Starting or playing our worst defensive player on one of the best offensive players in the NBA is a recipe for disaster. Unless the game plan is for MaMo to just foul Giannis hard 6X.
My impression of MaMo’s defense is that he’s a decent 1:1 defensive player but not a good team/help defender.
 

Sprowl

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What's the nature of the matchup advantage that makes Semi able to contain Giannis better than most? Is it just his strength being able to resist being backed down in the post? It's surely not footspeed and quickness, nor blocking ability at the rim. I just want to understand if I should be rooting for him to come in and be a "Giannis-banger" to tire him out for 10-15 per night, like how we used Baynes and Monroe against Embiid last year, or if he's too much of a black hole to see more than rare spot duty.
Semi barely jumps (and never blocks shots) because all his energy is devoted to lateral footwork that keeps him in front of his opponent's trajectory off the dribble. Ojeleye has a rare combination of anticipation and lateral quickness that gives opposing big men fits. Ojeleye can't really jump (who's going to outjump Giannis anyway?), but he can get in front of a driver and cut off his forward path better than anyone else on the team, and he can usually do it without fouling. It's a narrow defensive skillset, but a very helpful one against ballhandlers like Antetokounpo.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Whatever happened to the MaMo that was advertised as the league's best defender against LeBron? Was that all post-hoc approval for Ainge's haul in return for one year of Avery Bradley?

Or is it possible that Morris' best defense is played against a lead power forward whose game (layups, dunks, kick-outs and drop-offs) is predicated on starting with the dribble?

I think we'll see lots of Morris on the floor, SoSH's despair notwithstanding, and that's the best rationalization I can concoct. :unsure:
MaMo had league best numbers versus LBJ in 2015 or 2016 IIRC. That was a long time ago.

My impression is that either because of age or injury he's a step slower defensively and also isn't that keen on contact.

Without any evidence to back this up, I do think he's been playing through some injuries in the second half of the season.
 

benhogan

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MaMo had league best numbers versus LBJ in 2015 or 2016 IIRC. That was a long time ago.

My impression is that either because of age or injury he's a step slower defensively and also isn't that keen on contact.

Without any evidence to back this up, I do think he's been playing through some injuries in the second half of the season.
Agreed, I do think MaMo's knee has been barking the 2nd half of the season (he's been wrapping it on the sidelines). He has probably played through it since he's playing for a contract. PLUS he's Old School and would play through pain. It could be the reason for his Jekyll and Hyde season. The week off will help.

While I believe Al/Semi will be GA's main antagonists, the Celtics switch on defense so MaMo will get Giannis in the half court. Hopefully, Marcus will use some of his bulk/veteran savvy to slow GA down and return to his Lebron Stopper days.

This article offers some hope:
https://hardwoodhoudini.com/2017/09/26/marcus-morris-bostons-lebron-stopper/4/
 

AimingForYoko

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I say C's in 6 for no reason at all other than it feels right. I'd also like to predict that Kyrie will out-Dame Dame in Milwaukee for kicks and all hell will break loose.
 

oumbi

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Morris is going to play GA a lot. I can't see Brad wanting to get AL in foul trouble early. Wasn't Morris supposed to be this tough guy Big 3/Undersized 4 that was supposed to match up with the LeBrons and the Giannis' of the league in the playoffs?

IIRC, that's how Stevens played both Simmons and GA last season -- start with Morris on them, to body them up and make them work for theirs, and then use AL in key spots to get big stops.
Plus, in the 7 game playoff series against Milwaukee, Semi played an average of 18 minutes. Three games he logged over 20 minutes, with one game at 31 and another at 29.

I don’t know how many of these minutes were against Antetokounmpo, but I think quite a few.

Let”s see this year what role Semi plays.
 

lovegtm

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If that happens, Giannis is going to start guarding Kyrie. That would be so incredibly awesome.
Would also be a big win for the Celtics: you get Giannis away from the hoop, and he’s also likely to lose Kyrie off-ball.

There are a lot of things like that in this series: Lopez posting guys up, Baynes jacking lots of 3s, etc. They seem like they should be wins/adjustments, but there are ways to handle them, and the opponent would likely be fine giving that up. Really fascinating series.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Plus, in the 7 game playoff series against Milwaukee, Semi played an average of 18 minutes. Three games he logged over 20 minutes, with one game at 31 and another at 29.

I don’t know how many of these minutes were against Antetokounmpo, but I think quite a few.

Let”s see this year what role Semi plays.
Here are some stats: https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/celtics/no-one-can-stop-giannis-celtics-have-secret-weapon.

Two of the stats from that article. In G7 last year, Semi guarded Giannis for 43 possessions (no one else took more than 19). The Greek Freak finished with 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting against Ojeleye, but did not draw a shooting foul against him.

In the first game of this year, Semi guarded GA for a team-high 24 possessions that night and held him to nine points on 3-for-6 shooting, committing just one shooting foul and forcing a turnover. More importantly, in the 20 minutes the two players were on the court together, the Bucks owned an offensive rating of just 102.4 but had a defensive rating of 131 (minus-28.6 net rating). MIL's offensive rating for the night was 111.9.

This article states that in the second matchup in this season, Semi guarded GA for just 15 possessions (JB had highest: 16 possessions) and gave up 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting by GA. For the game, GA finished with 30 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

Can't quickly find any stats for third matchup this year.
 

Jimbodandy

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That Morris = Lebron kryptonite talk was probably SSS nonsense anyway.

Giannis will be slowed down primarily by team defense, largely transition defense, mixing enough guys at him to spread the fouls, and scheming with PnR and other curveballs that keep him guessing as much as possible.

Get back on defense, guard the three, and kitchen sink this shit. He'll still get his 30, but maybe we move on.
 

CantKeepmedown

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Keith Pompey from the Philly Inquirer said he was hearing the Philly/Toronto series was going to start Saturday.

There's a chance, albeit a slight one, that the West could stretch out until this weekend. NBA needs to do the right thing and let the East start even if the West isn't finished.
 

ifmanis5

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Giannis will get his, no one is stopping him. The difference in the series is limiting Bledsoe and Middleton. Bledsoe was a disaster last year and that probably won't happen again this year. Middleton seems to always kill us but this year in 3 games he was actually -10.8 and 17.3 ppg which is a point lower than his average. This is where missing Smart will hurt the most. I like the Bucks in 6 or 7.
 

DrewDawg

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Giannis will get his, no one is stopping him. The difference in the series is limiting Bledsoe and Middleton. Bledsoe was a disaster last year and that probably won't happen again this year. Middleton seems to always kill us but this year in 3 games he was actually -10.8 and 17.3 ppg which is a point lower than his average. This is where missing Smart will hurt the most. I like the Bucks in 6 or 7.
Middleton hit 61% from 3PT in the series against us last year. So Bledsoe will likely be better than last year, but Middleton likely ain't shooting that again either.

What I want to see is those graphics that say something like:

Giannis 10-17 28 points
Everyone else 6-24 17 points
 

HomeRunBaker

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Game 1 is confirmed for Sunday at 1:00 on ABC.
This is great news. You can't ask for a better day/start time then early afternoon on a Sunday to catch a home favorite sleeping and the crowd not yet into the series. We are +7.5 which I like here in our best shot to steal a road win imo.

Yeah, Bledsoe's 15-16 and 16-17 seasons were cut short due to his knee and he came into camp with Phoenix out of shape prior to being traded to Milwaukee while not having a training came to gel with his teammates and Kidd's system. He's back down to his normal playing weight, in his preferred up-tempo offense, and his game doesn't resemble that of last year. He's been a legit #2 all season and probably could have made the All-Star team.
 
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Red Averages

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I actually took +7.5, the money line +275, and a parlay of +7.5 and under 224 for Game 1. Hopefully we can steal one of the first two.
 

Sam Ray Not

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GS-Houston: If GS wins tonight, Game 1 is Sunday at 3:30
Houston would still have to win tonight too, which is not guaranteed, with Capela ailing and the Jazz potentially figuring some stuff out defensively. For all we know, we could still have two Game 7s Sunday (UTA@HOU and LAC@GS) after the Celtics game.

Tonight, per Vegas, HOU -8, GS -14.5.
 

lovegtm

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Houston would still have to win tonight too, which is not guaranteed, with Capela ailing and the Jazz potentially figuring some stuff out defensively. For all we know, we could still have two Game 7s Sunday (UTA@HOU and LAC@GS) after the Celtics game.

Tonight, per Vegas, HOU -8, GS -14.5.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that we won’t be getting that 2nd game 7 :)
 

CantKeepmedown

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Only three weekend games combined in each series, and 2 are in the evening. Not too shabby. Friggen spring soccer is taking up most of my weekends, but it's all during the day, at least.
 

Red Averages

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Cross posting...

Bruins/Celtics are scheduled for the same nights

Tuesday 4/30-Bruins game 3,Celtics game 2
Monday 5/6- Bruins game 6, Celtics game 4
Wednesday 5/8- Bruins game 7, Celtics game 5
Could have been worse. Celtics game 2 will probably start at 8 and Bruins will be at 7, so only 1 period of overlap there.
Bruins will win in 5, so no worries about 5/6 or 5/8!
 

lovegtm

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Here is some video on how Lopez plays defense in MIL's system:


Source: https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/celtics-bucks-preview-kyrie-vs-giannis-major-defensive-decisions-and-why-boston-looks-like-a-great-value-bet/

edit: the cbssports data engineer "ran 10,000 simulations for this series and concluded "it's a coin-slip series." interesting.
Yup, this is why the Celtics set a team record for 3-point attempts in the first meeting. Lopez concedes that shot in the Bucks' base scheme, and the Celtics shooters are too good to not let it fly. IIRC, the Celtics had some quote after the game about how they'd be happy to jack 3s every possession if the looks were going to be that high-quality.

I expect the Celtics to try and keep 5 shooters on the floor whenever possible, and also emphasize to Baynes that they'd like him setting monster screens on handoffs/picks to free shooters off the dribble, rather than taking the 3s themselves.

Game thread is going to tear its hair out over the inevitable variance.
 

lovegtm

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@benhogan, I think you may end up disappointed with Baynes’ playing time in this series. There’s a good chance that the Celtics keep max shooting on the floor at all times when Lopez is out there, to try and negate the massive positive effects he has on MIL’s offense, and maybe even run him off the floor in the ideal scenario.

If that’s not working, I’d guess we’ll see Baynes out there setting lots of perimeter screens, but the 5-out lineups we saw to close the Pacers games are very promising as an antidote to what the Bucks do.
 

Wilco's Last Fan

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