3 adjustments for the Milwaukee Bucks after first two games vs. Boston

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boston Celtics: Robert Williams III
May 1, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are two games into their second round series thus far, and it is still anybody’s to take, as it is tied up 1-1.

The series has been predicated on defense. Both the Bucks and Celtics have felt the wrath of the other’s elite defense, as neither team has cracked 110 points in two games. The most recent game of the series saw the Celtics ride a white-hot first half from 3-point land into a comfortable 109-86 win. As the series shifts back to Milwaukee, here are three adjustments the Bucks should make to regain the upper hand.

No. 1 – Giannis Antetokounmpo must step up for the Milwaukee Bucks

To say the first half of Game 2 was ugly for Giannis Antetokounmpo is an understatement.

Giannis went an uncharacteristic 2-of-12 for only five points. He ended with 28 points, but the game was largely over by that point. That simply cannot repeat itself for Giannis if the Bucks want to win this series. A lot of credit can be attributed to the Celtics’ defense for Giannis’ struggles, as Grant Williams and Al Horford have done a sensational job of keeping Giannis out of the paint, and contesting without fouling when he does get to the rim.

With Middleton out for Milwaukee, even more attention has been given to Antetokounmpo than usual, and he has struggled thus far to figure out the Celtics’ league-best defense. If Giannis continues to struggle from the field though, he must impose his will in other aspects of the game, as he did in Game 1 with his 12 assists and amazing defense. There are, however, ways to help Giannis get better looks. One is to get out in transition more. The Bucks have struggled mightily to score in the half-court this series when the Celtics are able to set their defense and load up on Giannis. The Bucks must get out and run after every defensive rebound, and convert on their opportunities when Boston turns it over. This would give Giannis much easier looks at the rim and might give him a better rhythm when he is contested at the rim by Boston.

Another is to use Giannis as a screener and cutter. The Greek Freak is an elite roll man, and giving him looks when the defense might be looking at the primary ball handler would help a lot. This means a lot less Giannis isos at the top of the key, as those haven’t been very fruitful this series. And if Giannis does have the ball at the top of the key, the Bucks must run actions alongside that. A DHO to give Grayson Allen or Pat Connaughton an open look from three could be effective. Giannis is at his best when he is making quick precise decisions, and giving him avenues to do so could pay off big time for Milwaukee.