You know the old saying, it’s the two best words in sports: Game Seven. Unless you’re a fan of a team playing in that Game 7, it means a lot of stress and anxiousness. Although they went through a stressful Game 7 on the road last year, this won’t be any easier for Milwaukee Bucks fans.
Game 6 was the first time in the Mike Budenholzer era that they lost a potential closeout game but the nice thing about going up 3-2 is that you get two kicks at the can! They’re no stranger to road closeout games given that they won three series on the road last year but it’s a new year with a new set of challenges. It’s been a fun series and it all concludes later today.
The Milwaukee Bucks need to make rotation adjustments ahead of Game 7 against the Boston Celtics
The good news for everyone is that this will be the last time I talk about the Bucks needing to bench Grayson Allen in this series. I don’t want to claim to know more than Budenholzer, he’s a successful head coach and I’m very much not, but it feels like not playing Allen is an easy adjustment to make.
Budenholzer has done an excellent job in adjusting during games by switching their defensive coverages to keep Boston’s scorers off balance. Still, in terms of rotation adjustments, it’s been less excellent.
Allen was slotted into the starting lineup ahead of Game 3 after Bobby Portis started the first couple of games. I don’t want to belabor the point here, but he’s been hunted on defense every time down the floor by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Pat Connaughton needs to start and play over 35 minutes in this game. Please, Bud.
Tatum, Brown, and Marcus Smart are shooting 13-of-39 when defended by Connaughton. They’re 19-of-33 when defended by Allen. Connaughton is also shooting 50 percent from 3 and over 84 percent in the restricted area in this series. Allen is shooting 25 percent from 3 and under 64 percent in the restricted area.
Beyond Allen, there are a couple of other rotation things that can be tweaked. Wesley Matthews should easily be playing over 30 minutes (barring foul trouble, which is a myth but we have to account for Budenholzer taking his guys out), Portis and Giannis Antetokounmpo should play most of their minutes together, and hey, toss Jevon Carter out there for a little bit!
We’ll see if we get any of these changes in Game 7 but given that it’s their last chance to keep their season alive, I sure would hope we see something new in the rotation.