Defending NBA Champions pulled off the obvious trick and run over Chicago Bulls beating the Bulls four times in five games in the best of seven games series. The Bucks are on course to repeat as NBA Finalists in many punditry books though its plausible opponent mid-way through the just-ended regular season (Phoenix Suns) isn’t a strong finalist contender considering the team’s struggles to put away the lowly-ranked New Orleans Pelicans.

In the immediate future, concerns about Devin Booker’s injured hamstring are of major concern to the team’s title ambitions. Despite missing Khris Middleton through injury, Milwaukee was never in danger of a shock series loss and elimination from the playoffs since Chicago had health issues and never matched up anyway talent-wise on paper. The next stage will prove to be a way tougher hurdle to surmount with Milwaukee taking on Boston Celtics.

The Celtics are on Cloud nine and have been there for a while since turning its 2021-2022 Regular Season campaign around after a poor start. That momentum carried over into the first round of playoff games and the C’s dominated its series against Brooklyn Nets by winning all four games to sweep the series.  These Nets aren’t led by D’Angelo Russell or Caris LeVert as it was years back; two of the best talents in all of basketball led that team in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Beyond the deadly duo is a solid group that has Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Goran Dragic and surprise element Bruce Brown even in the absence of Ben Simmons. Neither Durant nor Kyrie looked comfortable in all four games as Boston Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka’s aggressive defensive schemes with a strong tinge of physicality ruffled Durant and Kyrie.

 Basically, former Nets Assistant Coach Udoka and his guys turned the Best Player in the World Kevin Durant into an ordinary player and they could do same to a top contender for the “Best Player in the World” title in Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, the Bucks present a different challenge in the upcoming series and look good to progress to the Conference Finals even if Boston just slew the biggest Dark Horse in the entire Playoff bracket and here is why:

Celtics are undersized against Milwaukee

In the previous series against Brooklyn, Boston had the size advantage as its best players and those that featured heavily in the personnel rotation were taller and bigger than those on the Nets. 6 foot 8 inch Jayson Tatum and 6 foot 6 inch Jaylen Brown had a field day going up against 6 foot 4 inch Bruce Brown, 6 foot 2 inch Kyrie and 6 foot 1 inch Seth Curry. Recently crowned Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart bodied Kyrie Irving throughout the series.

Drummond’s playing time whittled as the series progressed due to schematic fit problems against Boston that led to Kevin Durant as the sole 6 foot 10 inch plus guy playing extensive minutes. 6 foot 10 inch Nic Claxton was decent on the floor but his free throw struggles and inability to score jump shots and three pointers made him a liability thus limiting his playing time. This scenario gave Al Horford, Robert Williams and Daniel Theis the green light to target Durant and wear him down with their physical style.

On the flip side, even minus the 6 foot 8 inch Middleton, the Bucks have a big lineup featuring 6 foot 10 inch Bobby Portis, 6 foot 11 inch Giannis and three point shooting 7 feet tall Brook Lopez. Wesley Matthews, Serge Ibaka, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton all check out height wise in their respective positions.

Milwaukee simply plays better than Brooklyn

On both ends of the floor, Milwaukee plays better than Brooklyn Nets and that makes things a bit harder for Boston. Offensively, the Bucks closed out the regular season ranked third in the league with an offensive proficiency rating of 115.1 according to StatMuse and ranked 14th on the defensive side according to the same source. Brooklyn however, ranked 11th offensively and ranked 19th defensively pushing the much heralded Brooklyn team close to a league average in its strongest department even if Kyrie Irving missed half of the season due to his No Vaccination stance.

The statistical outlay played out in the series as Brooklyn’s offense stalled several times in favour of isolation plays with guys not making enough cuts to the basket. Boston is the perfect example of a balanced unit ranking second in defensive rating and seventh in offensive rating and that should be more than enough to get them past the Bucks.

Conversely, looking at the close contests against a relatively dysfunctional Brooklyn team compared to Milwaukee, Boston’s chances of progressing to the Conference Finals drops off since Giannis and Company operate better as a unit than the Nets in essence making Milwaukee a tougher team to beat.

Giannis is different from Kevin Durant

Superstars are built different. Boston got physical with Durant and that messed up his game long enough to build momentum to sweep the series with the lack of confidence and a bit of fatigue showing in Durant’s shot attempts. Milwaukee Bucks star player Giannis Antetokounmpo is the opposite as his style of play veers from finesse and is more aligned with brute force.

As such, the Nigerian-Greek god embraces physicality from defenders and has built his body up from a lanky frame to a well stacked one to take the pound and deliver some without affecting his production (weight increased from 190 Pounds when drafted into the NBA to 242 Pounds in 2022).

When the jumpers and three-pointers aren’t falling, Giannis attacks the paint unlike Durant and has improved his scoring at the free-throw through the years to punish teams that intentionally foul him to make him a liability on the floor. Boston played Grant Williams and Tatum as primary defenders on Durant but can’t do same against Giannis and double-teaming him leaves his very capable multiple shooting teammates open to score.

So expect another round of closely contested games for Boston Celtics like the Brooklyn Nets series but this time with a different outcome after seven games; Bucks for the series win.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.