All of the threes
The Celtics are going to shoot lots of threes. The Bucks are going to shoot lots of threes. When the 2 groups face one another, it generally looks like whoever makes probably the most goes to win the sport. Of their seven-game collection final yr, the staff that made extra threes gained 5 out of six video games (in Boston’s Recreation 3 loss, each groups made 9).
Throughout this three-game common season collection, Joe Mazzulla has leaned closely into the perimeter-oriented gameplan. Final night time, their blistering tempo was on par with their early season capturing; hitting 22-of-43 from behind the arc. On Christmas Day at TD Backyard, they left nineteen threes underneath Milwaukee’s tree in one other 139-118 blowout. And even within the Bucks additional time win in opposition to the Hospital Celtics again in February, Boston shot 50 three-pointers.
Marcus Sensible vs. all people
With Boston seemingly abandoning their double-big beginning lineup with Horford and Williams in favor of enjoying small and bringing in Williams off the bench as a change of (s)tempo massive, there was some query with how the Celtics would take care of Brook Lopez. Harken again to 2022 and it was Horford who did the majority of defending Antetokounmpo, however that left the 7’1 Lopez unchecked.
Enter Marcus Sensible.
Certain, a lot of Sensible’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months marketing campaign final season was highlighted by hustle performs, distinction makers, and Tommy Factors. However what has made Sensible such a constant defender — notably in Boston’s switching scheme — is his potential to protect up in opposition to bigs.
For Mazzulla, that is virtually a dare. Lopez has rebuilt his sport from his low-post heavy offense from when he was youthful to a extra perimeter-oriented fashion not in contrast to Horford. However with a juicy matchup in opposition to the shorter Sensible, the Bucks could be remiss to not pound the paint with Lopez’s 300 kilos.
Sensible’s artful although, annoyingly so. To my fellow dad and mom on the market, have you ever ever stepped on a LEGO in the course of the night time? That’s Sensible. He lowers his middle of gravity in an try to mitigate the peak benefit.
Lopez continues to be a load across the rim, however get low sufficient and you’ll down Goliath with a wonderfully positioned rock (at its knees and never between the eyes).
Rushing with deers within the highway
The Bucks are massive. Actually massive. After their three seven-footers in Antetokounmpo, Lopez, and Bobby Portis, Milwaukee is flush with size on the perimeter. Jrue Vacation is a giant level guard and veterans Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, Khris Middleton, Wesley Matthews, and Pat Connaughton are 6’5+.
Boston’s benefit in opposition to that a lot beef? Velocity. Shooters and dribble drivers that, given a small benefit, can get their shoulders round you and take it to the rim in a 5-out system. The Celtics shot an unsustainable 51.2% from behind the arc (22-of-43). That’s not the headline. They had been additionally 24-of-30 within the restricted space and took simply 9 photographs between the arc and the paint. In a return to town that drafted him, Malcolm Brogdon ran a layup line in opposition to his former staff.
This has been the state of play, however everyone knows that playoff basketball could be completely different. Mismatches will get exploited after which there shall be changes after which there shall be changes to the changes. To date, the Celtics seemingly have the Bucks’ quantity and what’s made it so stark is their command on each side of the ball. If the photographs don’t fall, the protection will make the distinction. If Giannis goes off for 40+ factors, there are sufficient stress factors that the Celtics can benefit from on offense.
It took seven video games and Grant Williams going nuclear to find out final yr’s collection. “I believe we’re a greater staff than we had been final yr,” Brown mentioned after he and Tatum put up 70 factors on Thursday night time. This summer season, possibly it doesn’t go the space.