3 keys to the Milwaukee Bucks defeating the Boston Celtics in round two

Dec 13, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Semi Ojeleye, Pat Connaughton, Boston Celtics: Romeo Langford, Grant Williams
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 12 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

After a quick and exciting round one against the Chicago Bulls, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are ready for more of a challenge in round two as they face the Boston Celtics.

Boston is coming off their impressive round one sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, which I did not expect. The big headline here is of course the absence of Khris Middleton. Middleton suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain in the Bucks’ only loss in the Chicago series and reports say he is likely to miss the entirety of this series.

Fortunately, Milwaukee looked great and also had ideal ball movement during Middelton’s absence, but that was expected against a team like Chicago. With Middleton out for potentially the entire series, there are three things Milwaukee needs to do to keep up their play and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years, but it will not be easy.

No. 1 – Spacing and ball movement will be key for the Milwaukee Bucks in round two versus the Boston Celtics

When Khris Middleton went down with an MCL sprain in game 2, many thought that Chicago had an increased chance to win the series, but I was able to laugh at those claims because of the way the ball moves when Middleton is out. Middleton is a great player who makes big shots, and we will need that in the coming rounds, but I think Milwaukee can get it done without him against Boston.

When Middleton is out Giannis does a great job of consistently finding the shooters. Giannis is amongst some of the league’s best when it comes to hunting out his teammates on the 3-point line. The Bucks’ roster has plenty of good shooters as well. Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen, and Wesley Matthews are three guys that will need to shoot the ball well offensively. All three of these guys get an increase in open looks without Khris Middleton. When Giannis attacks the rim the defense funnels up, creating a lot of open 3-point shots, especially for wing players like these three. It will be interesting to see if Milwaukee goes with their big lineup from last series, but I think they will go with Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jrue Holiday, with Wesley Matthews and Pat Connaughton at the two and three.

Grayson Allen is a guy that should get a little bump in minutes, considering the way he played last series and the fact he could be an X-factor the way he gets hot from distance. I believe he should be starting, but his scoring punch has been nice to have off the bench. The bottom line here is that if Milwaukee can capitalize on all these open 3-point shots consistently, it will open a lot of other avenues for Milwaukee to win the game.