3 questions before the Milwaukee Bucks face Boston Celtics in round two

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 13 (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 13 (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 13 (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks will kick off their second round series against the Boston Celtics tomorrow in a matchup that has a significant amount of hype surrounding it.

Following commanding first round victories from both Milwaukee and Boston, these two premier contenders will meet in round two with a trip to the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals on the line in a matchup that is shaping up to be must-see television. Before Game 1 tomorrow, here are three questions for the Milwaukee Bucks as they face the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

No. 1 – Can the Milwaukee Bucks carry their defensive excellence in round one over into round two against the Boston Celtics?

The Milwaukee Bucks put on a defensive clinic in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, as evidenced by their defensive rating. According to NBA.com/stats, Milwaukee boasted a defensive rating of 94.4 during their first five playoff games, which ranked first by a country mile. For reference, the Miami Heat came in second place with their defensive rating of 104.1, which showcases just how sizeable the gap is between first and second. The Bucks must sustain this defensive intensity in the second round as they square off with a lethal offensive unit in the Celtics.

With an offensive rating of 119.2 in their first four playoff games, which ranked third in the NBA, the Celtics were clicking on that side of the ball in the first round. Led by Jayson Tatum, who was outstanding in that series by averaging 29.5 points per game, Boston is a stellar offensive team with no shortage of other weapons on that side of the floor. Jaylen Brown averaged 22.5 points while Marcus Smart put up 16.5 points in that same series, and the Bucks will certainly have their hands full trying to slow down these two along with Tatum.

A pair of Bucks that will have their hands full defensively are Jrue Holiday and Wesley Matthews. Holiday is among the best and most versatile defenders in the league, and he will be tasked with guarding Boston’s most lethal scorers, likely starting the series off against Tatum. Opponents had a difficult time scoring against Holiday in the first round as they shot just 30.9 percent when being defended by the guard. He must replicate that success against the Celtics, especially Tatum, for the Bucks to be successful in this matchup. Matthews will be entrusted with slowing down Brown, who is also a top-tier scorer himself. He must use the same brand of physicality on Brown as he did when guarding DeMar DeRozan in round one to limit his scoring contributions.

The Milwaukee Bucks played outstanding team defense in the first round, but there are questions as to whether or not they can duplicate that success in round two against the Boston Celtics.