Celtics are Smart Choice to End Bucks' Season on Thursday

smart celtics

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:29 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2018 3:29 PM UTC

Marcus Smart came off the shelf to give Boston the defensive spark needed to vanquish Milwaukee in Game 5. Let’s see if the Green is worth a wager to close out the series Thursday.

NBA Thursday: By The NumbersCeltics (58-29 SU, 52-31-4 ATS) vs. Bucks (46-41 SU, 36-46-5 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Celtics +5Best Line Offered: BetPhoenix

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What’s Trending
  • Milwaukee is 14-26 ATS in home games this season.
  • Milwaukee is 16-24 ATS revenging a loss vs. opponent this season.
  • Milwaukee is 8-18 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season.
  • Boston is 28-14 ATS in road games this season.
  • Boston is 20-6 ATS as an underdog this season.
  • Boston is 31-16 ATS versus good offensive teams scoring 106+ points/game this season.

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All year, we've been tested. All year, we've responded. #CUsRise pic.twitter.com/Nu3KMixy8p

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 24, 2018
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Game Analysis

Boston held serve again on their home court Tuesday, defeating Milwaukee in a 92-87 defensive battle for a 3-2 series lead. Marcus Smart was the cure to what ails the Green defensively as he suited up after six weeks on the DL to deliver a solid performance which included nine points, four assists, three blocks, and one steal in 25 minutes of work. Although those numbers don’t immediately jump out, Smart’s tenacity was contagious and fortunately for Boston, Al Horford was infected by his defensive prowess by producing 22 points and 14 rebounds in the winning effort.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you may have clicked on over to SBR’s NBA Picks section where I predicted a win and a cover for the Celtics on Tuesday night. It has been a good playoff run for us as we have had success in the Timberwolves-Rockets series as well.

The dynamic for the Bucks has been predicated squarely around Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. As stated in my previous article, it’s impossible to ask the Greek Freak to continue to shoulder the load without support from his teammates. Sure enough, he was held to just 16 points Tuesday after averaging nearly 28 in the previous four games. The Celtics bring more depth and rely less on individual performances and more on point distribution along with solid defense. Smart is the X-factor that Boston needed and he was the spark that lit the flame for Boston’s best defensive performance of the series.

The venue shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Thursday night, and the last game at the Bradley Center was illustrative of the way things go when the Bucks play at home. They tend to win the game but fail to cover the number. And so it was when the Bucks claimed a 104-102 win but the Celtics grabbed the cash for their backers as six-point road dogs.

I believe the results will be similar on Thursday night in that Boston will again be the beneficiary of the NBA odds board, getting five points. The Celtics will keep it close, particularly with the addition of Smart on the roster to slow the momentum of Antetokounmpo and Middleton. In fact, I would also advise a few bucks on the Celtics at +180 to win the game outright and put the Bucks to rest for the season.

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