If the Celtics can win 2 home games in one go, then this round of the series is expected to end in 5 games, but if the battle line is stretched, the willpower of the Celtics is likely to be exhausted, and eventually Eliminated in 6 games.
Before the playoffs started this year, the Nets were regarded as the strongest team with the best chance to play the low-seeded dark horse. After all, there were two stars in the team, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but after 4 series games, they became The only team to be swept this year. The Celtics, who beat the Nets, continued their unstoppable momentum in 2022, but next they will face the defending champion Bucks.
The two teams are no strangers to each other. After all, this is the third time the two sides have met in the playoffs in the past five seasons. In 2018, in the absence of Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics relied on Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier to advance through 7 bloody battles; unfortunately, the Celtics, who were fully assembled the following year, suffered a heavy blow in the second round. , not only took the 1:4 early holiday, but even let the Irving Storm detonate to the highest point.
Judging from the historical record, the Celtics and the Bucks have faced each other 7 times in the playoffs. The former has achieved 5 wins and 2 losses, but if the total record is spread out, the Celtics have 21 wins. In fact, it is not far from the Bucks’ 18 wins. Although the Bucks now know that Khris Middleton is unavailable, with the blessing of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and championship experience, the Celtics still don’t have the capital to be careless.
Indistinguishable Xuanlin’s Battle Experience
Since Brown entered the NBA, the Celtics and the Bucks have played against each other 20 times in the regular season. Interestingly, the two teams have won 10 wins and 10 losses. Assuming that the time is shortened to this season, the two sides are also 2 wins and 2 losses, and both the home team wins the game. If such a result can be transferred to this series of games, it may be beneficial to the Celtics who have home field advantage. .
The total score of the 2 teams in this season’s regular season is 473:460. The Celtics are slightly better, but the average per game is only about 3 points. In addition, in these 4 games, except for December 13, when both sides were fully present, the main players were absent in the remaining 3 games, which also made the regular season matches lose some reference value.
The collision of two green aegis
After hiring Mike Budenholzer as head coach in 2018, the Bucks made good use of Giannis’ high mobility and exaggerated defensive range to build the best defensive system in the league, and even delivered the best DRtg in the league for two consecutive years. However, after he acquired Holiday in the trade last year, his defensive efficiency dropped to 10th in the league. This year, he was 14th, and even only 20th after the All-Star Game.
The same is true for the Celtics. Under the coaching of Brad Stevens, the team can always maintain the defensive performance of the first half of the league, but it encountered turbulence last season, and its defensive efficiency dropped to 14th in the league, but this year Ime Udoka spent After a whole season of devotion, finally this group of young players is willing to devote their energy to the defensive level and return to the top defensive team.
Although the Bucks’ defensive data seems to be poor this season, they completely locked the Bulls’ offense in the first round. The Bucks paid 94.4 DRtg in the first round, and they were more than 10 points better than every other team except the other 15 playoff teams. DeMar DeRozan, who is playing his career year this season, averaged 27.9 points and 50.4% shooting in the regular season, but in the playoffs he was only 20.8 points and 41.1% shooting. Next, facing the Tatum and Brown of the Celtics, the Bucks may still adopt the same pattern to limit the 2-player singles, so the double-third pick must be more calm, maintain the conduction of the first round, and play the correct team basketball.
Although the Celtics seemed to block KD’s firepower in the first round, the strategy of focusing on the stars also allowed role players such as Bruce Brown to play. Since he was seriously injured, KD’s cutting has not been as destructive as before. However, the Giannis encountered this time is a physical monster who will use unsolvable tank cuts to tear the defense line. He gradually strengthens his shooting skills, and the Bucks are not lacking. With the green leaves, the green shirt army’s targeted defense may encounter greater trouble.
For the Celtics, the good news in this round of the series is that Middleton has yet to return due to a knee injury. This career playoff star can have 22.4 points, 51.6% shooting against the Celtics. It will give the green shirt a fatal blow at a critical moment, and is also called hot man by many fans. But the reason why the Bucks were able to win the championship last season, in addition to the value of the stars themselves, is the key to role players being able to fill the gap at any time. Whether it is Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen or Pat Connauton from Massachusetts, all have the ability to become Raiders of this round.
If the Celtics want to stand out in this series, Tatum must continue the high efficiency performance of the first round, and Brown must also jump out when Tatum is supposed to be prevented from shutting down. Although the depth of the Celtics’ bench is not necessarily worse than that of the Bucks, there is still some suspense in terms of experience and stability, not to mention the two backcourt locksmiths Marcus Smart and Derrick White, who are like dice on the outside.
Key X Factor
Since the two sides met in the 2018 playoffs, Al Horford can almost be said to be the best candidate to resist Giannis. Judging from this season’s data, Giannis has the worst performance in the game against the Celtics. There are still 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, but it is interesting that he only scored 8 points in 36 possessions against Horford. Even Udoka said bluntly that Horford will be a player who will be against Giannis for a long time.
However, compared to 2018, Horford is now 4 years older, and Giannis is gradually increasing his skill pack, so it is almost impossible for Horford to completely restrict Giannis. What he needs to do is to slow down Giannis’ rhythm , so that he can’t get close to the rim so easily, and let other teammates have enough reaction time to help defense, such as Robert Williams who has just returned.
Different from the Nets, which mainly focus on jump shots, the Bucks are a team that prefers to play inside-out and outside-in. They occasionally let Giannis and Holiday drive and score the ball, and sometimes let Brook. Lopez, Bobby Portis and others are playing in the low post, so the Celtics must first consolidate the defense in the restricted area, so that the Bucks cannot easily attack the basket.
Just as the Bucks’ sound defense system was built on the inexplicable Giannis, the Celtics’ defense this season is also thanks to Williams’ exaggerated help defense. This season, the Celtics allowed only 42.5 points in the restricted area, the second highest in the league, but Giannis averaged 15.9 points per game in the restricted area in the first round. Therefore, to what extent Williams’ body can recover will be one of the biggest keys to whether the Celtics can advance.
Second round result prediction
While it's good for the Celtics not to worry about Middleton's lethality, the Bucks still have enough weapons to give their opponents a lot of trouble. In addition, the current biggest advantage of the Green Shirts lies in the level of morale, and this advantage can be said to have continued since January 1, 2022. However, such an advantage may also be their biggest worry. Once they encounter When it comes to a fiasco or a losing streak, confidence may collapse overnight. The author believes that if the green shirts can win 2 home games in one breath, then this round of the series is expected to end in 5 games, but if the battle line is elongated, the willpower of the green shirts is likely to be worn out. In the end, they were eliminated in 6 games.
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