The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks must go on the road and win Game 7 in Boston against the Celtics if they except to hold on to their championship reign for one more round. The Celtics already won one elimination game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals when they defeated the Bucks in Game 6 in Milwaukee and extended to the series to Game 7.
The winner of #2 Celtics and #3 Bucks will face the well-rested #1 Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The home team is 1-2 in this series because the Celtics/Bucks series followed a zig-zag pattern. The Bucks won Game 1 in Boston, but then the teams swapped singular wins back and forth. The Celtics prevailed in all the even-number games with wins in Game 2, Game 4, and Game 6. The Bucks won all the odd-number games with victories in Game 1, Game 3, and Game 5. If the zig-zag pattern continues, the Bucks will emerge as the victor.
|NBA Playoffs Game 7 Betting Preview|
|#3 Milwaukee Bucks (3-3) at #2 Boston Celtics (3-3)|
- Tip-off: 12:30pm PT
- Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
- Point Spread: BOS -5
- Total: 205.5 o/u
- Moneyline: MIL +175 / BOS -210
DraftKings updated their series market board and the Bucks are +175 underdogs to pull off the Game 7 victory and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics are the favorite at -210 odds to knock out the Bucks.
The Celtics are +400 odds to win the 2022 NBA title, but the Bucks are +950 odds to pull off a repeat championship.
Bucks: Super Freak Needs a Sidekick
When the Bucks lose, they really miss Khris Middleton. There’s hope he can return for the next round, but the Bucks have to win Game 7 for that possibility to become a reality. Grayson Allen has not gotten the job done. Mike Budenholzer deflected questions about starting Allen and his awful plus/minus rating. He started Portis for a few games when they went with a bigger lineup, and we’ll see who gets the start in Game 7.
When Jrue Holiday scores 24-plus a game this series, the Bucks are 3-0. In their three losses, Holiday averaged 17.3 ppg. In two of their losses, Holiday knocked down only one 3-pointer. Someone else has to provide a secondary scoring punch aside from the Greek Freak. Maybe it’s up to Pat Connaughton to be the man in Game 7?
It’s been a phenomenal series for Greek Freak averaging 35.3 ppg and 13.8 rebounds per game. He scored at least 40 points and hauled down 11 rebounds in three out of his last four games, including an insane Game 6 with 44 points and 20 rebounds in the loss.
The Bucks do not rely on a heavy barrage of 3-pointers as the cornerstone of their offense, but they’ll have to take/make more than usual because when the Celtics get hot from downtown, it’s a lot to make up.
“We got to move the ball a little bit more, moving bodies, getting defensive stops, and then pushing in transition,” said Holiday. “That’s usually how we get a bulk of our threes.”
On defense, the Bucks have to do much better job defending the perimeter and limit the number of open looks the Celtics get. Otherwise, their dreams of winning back-to-back titles will come to an abrupt halt.
Celtics: House of Pain
The Celtics are one win away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. It took just four games and a sweep of the Brooklyn Nets to advance to the conference semifinals. However, in the second round, the Celtics only cobbled together three wins against the Bucks in six games. At least the Celtics have an edge playing Game 7 on their own court and in front of a rowdy Beantown crowd.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Jayson Tatum is a superstar. Tatum put his alpha-dog skills on display in Game 6 with a 46-point eruption.
“We saw it in his eyes,” said Marcus Smart. “He was aggressive, he was coming to us, ‘Give me the ball,’ and we’d give him the ball. He asked for it, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Jaylen Brown (22.5 ppg) provided a steady scoring flow as the Celtics’ second-best scorer. However, whenever the Celtics win a game in this series, a different role player steps up with a top-notch performance. That included Grant Williams with 21 points off the bench in Game 2, Al Horford rolling back the clock in Game 4, and banged-up Marcus Smart scoring 21 points and dropping five treys in Game 6.
Defense has been the key to success this season. The Celtics can switch at any given time, which provides lots of headaches for teams. The Bucks have had problems trying to find a mismatch, and have very few opportunities to get wide-open 3-point attempts. It seems like out of frustration they’ve been handing the rock to Greek Freak, while the rest of the team stands around and watches him burst through a wall of defenders.
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