Another year, another tough matchup in the second round for the Milwaukee Bucks. Really, it’s only been three years in a row with a tougher matchup but this should be a fun series regardless of the outcome.
I’ve thought that the Boston Celtics would be the toughest matchup for the Bucks in the playoffs and now I’m going to see if that’s actually true! It’s going to be even harder without Khris Middleton but the Bucks have a deep enough roster and can get contributions from other areas to help offset his absence.
Due to Middleton’s absence, a few players have even greater importance in this series than they likely would have before. For the sake of not being too obvious, I’m not using Giannis Antetokounmpo (because, well, he’s always the most important) and Jrue Holiday (because I’ve written about his importance already) so it’s anyone that isn’t part of the big three.
Wesley Matthews will be asked to have an even bigger role defensively for the Milwaukee Bucks
Wesley Matthews would have already been hugely important as a defender in this series along with Middleton in guarding Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but now that the Bucks are without a true wing, Matthews will need to defend his 35-year-old butt off.
He was awesome in the first round defending DeMar DeRozan for the majority of the series, holding him to 11-of-29 shooting (all 2-point attempts) and forcing seven turnovers. That is the type of performance we’ll likely need to see from Matthews against the Celtics.
In the regular season, we didn’t see him guard Tatum and Brown as much as DeRozan, but it was around 10 total minutes between the two. Brown went 4-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 on 2s with no turnovers and a shooting foul drawn.
Tatum was 1-of-3 from the field (all 2s) with a turnover and no shooting foul.
Safe to say Matthews will see a lot more of these two wings in this series!
Brown is listed as being two inches taller and only a few pounds heavier than Matthews while Tatum is four inches taller and over 10 pounds lighter, so it’s not as if he’ll be overmatched too much physically against them. At the very least he’ll make it difficult for either of them to score. They’re going to get their numbers so at least making it difficult for them may be the best we can hope for.
Matthews was one of the big X-factors in round one and he will be yet again against a much tougher Celtics team.