The Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game-high 20 points, defeated the Boston Celtics 116-91 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to clinch the series and advance to the Eastern Finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks are now 8-1 in the playoffs with a four-game winning streak. The Bucks swept the Detroit Pistons in four games in the opening round. They dropped Game 1 against the Celtics, but then rattled off four-straight wins to advance to the East finals.
The Bucks will face the winner of the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia Sixers series, where the Raptors hold a 3-2 edge.
The Greek Freak and the Bucks are only four more wins away from a berth in the NBA Finals.
Irving Woes, Celts Dunzo
Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving played terrible basketball in the four losses to the Bucks. He missed 56 shots during their four-game losing streak. Irving was a non-factor in Game 5. He scored 15 points with just one assists. He missed 15 shots and went 1-for-7 from three-point land. As bad as he played, Irving led the Celtics in scoring in Game 5.
“It’s a basketball journey,” said Kyrie Irving. “Obviously, you want to keep playing, but they put a halt to that, and they deserve the series. They played like they wanted it.”
The Celtics imploded during the fallout of the Anthony Davis trade demand. The New Orleans Pelicans never traded their disgruntled All-Star, but the Celtics were torn apart about who would possibly get shipped out.
“I did a bad job,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “At the end of the day, as a coach, if your team doesn’t find its best fit together, that’s on you.”
At the same time, the future of Kyrie Irving in Boston is up in the air. The way he played this series, it looks like Irving played his final game in a green jersey.
The big questions remain, will Irving sign with the New York Knicks or LA Clippers in the offseason? And will the Celtics and Pelicans finally work out a trade to ship Davis to Boston?
Can Anyone Beat the Bucks?
Seven out of the eight wins by the Bucks were by double-digit margins or higher. During a sweep against the Pistons, the Bucks closest game was a 16-point victory in Game 3.
The Bucks came out flat in Game 1 against the Celtics with only 90 points on offense. Greek Freak and friends have been on fire since then. They held the Celtics to 102 or fewer points in three of their victories, including only 91 points in the series-clincher in Game 5.
“In the first game, we weren’t focused enough,” said the Greek Freak. “We weren’t ourselves. The next four games, we came out with a different approach, a different mindset.”
The Bucks led the NBA in scoring this season with 118 points per game. They also boasted the 11th best defense in the league. The Bucks can bring it on both ends of the court and put their offensive/defensive skills on display against the Celtics.
The Celtics were a solid team too with the #8 ranked defense (allowing only 108 points this season), plus an offense that was ranked #14 overall. The Bucks simply outplayed them.
According to the Westgate Super Book in Las Vegas, the Milwaukee Bucks are +250 to win the NBA championship.