SportsBasketballMilwaukee Bucks


Three things to watch in Bucks versus Celtics

Three things to watch in Bucks versus Celtics
Posted at 11:55 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 12:55:34-04

MILWAUKEE — April 22 was a historic day in Milwaukee Bucks history, clinching their first playoff series victory in 18 seasons. Now it's time to put that moment behind and move forward.

When the second round begins in a few days, the Bucks will take on the Boston Celtics, the team that defeated them in seven games last season.

Contrary to the beliefs of many Boston fans, this series is going to be nothing like last year's first round.

Here are three things to watch heading into the second round:

Two of the league's best defenses

Milwaukee had the best defensive rating and most defensive rebounds per game at the end of the regular season.

The key to the Bucks' success stems from many areas, but Giannis Antetokounmpo's ability to dominate the paint ranks far above the rest.

Here's where that gets interesting, and why the advantage goes to the Bucks.

Boston was top five in points in the paint given up this season, but it struggles in the rebounding category.

Al Horford was one of the league's best defenders this season, making him the obvious choice to guard Antetokounmpo.

No one knows Horford better than his former coach, Mike Budenholzer. Budenholzer will no doubt have a plan for his former player.

If Horford can keep the MVP candidate from dominating the paint, which no one has this season, Boston will have a much better opportunity to win four games.

The defensive winner of Horford versus Antetokounmpo will decide this series.

Two of the league's best three-point shooting teams

A quote that many NBA coaches love to use can be inserted here: "Good defense leads to good offense."

Well, both teams were top 10 defensively. They also dominate on offense, too, especially from three-point land.

Both teams have guards, centers and benches capable of shooting the lights out from beyond the arc.

Boston is shooting just below 40% from three in the postseason, and the Bucks are at 37%.

The Bucks were the only team to be top five in defense and offense during the regular season.

Star power

The biggest difference from last year is the health of Boston's two max contract players: Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

It will be vital for Milwaukee to keep eyes on those two at all times. The same goes for Jayson Tatum, an emerging star in the NBA.

The same goes for Boston, when it comes to Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and, of course, Antetokounmpo.

Boston has far more experience in the playoffs, but when you put home-court dominance with a bench with little to no weakness, beating the Bucks four times is not likely.