Jordan’s NBA Picks: 74-55, Playoffs 20-17
Boston Celtics (54-36 SU & 43-45 ATS) vs Milwaukee Bucks (67-23 SU & 54-33 ATS)
Wednesday, 8:00 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Celtics 1Q ATS
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
Boston has crumbled over the last two games in Boston and right now are on the brink of elimination. Can they overcome some of their mismatches and shortcomings to be a good play ATS on Wednesday?
Boston’s 1st Quarter Success
So far through four games of this series, the Celtics are +27 outscoring the Bucks in the first quarter. It’s a little bit about the Bucks getting off to slow starts, but it’s also a solid game plan usually from Brad Stevens. What happens in the next three quarters Celtics fans probably don’t want to talk about, but so far Boston has owned first quarters.
This was the case in both of their games in Milwaukee to start the series. Boston owned a 103.7 offensive rating in those two games and they held the Bucks to an offensive rating of 77.8 in those two.
Overall in this series Milwaukee only has an 83.2 offensive rating in the first quarter and overall in the playoffs, they are averaging just 106.7 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter.
With Boston playing at a lightning fast pace of 103.3 in the first quarter of their playoff games, I could see them continuing to come out aggressive. Even if it’s unsustainable throughout the entire game, they don’t have much of a choice down 1-3 on the road in Game 5. If they come out timid and trying to run half-court offense, they’ll get blitzed out of the building.
Their only hope is to follow the same game plan and try to snatch the lead early to get the crowd out of the game. They also need to keep their offense from falling apart in quarters two, three, and four, but for our play tonight, we’re not too worried about the final result.
The Sharp Pick
Milwaukee will no doubt come out with aggression as well, but complacency at home is also possible up 3-1, so I won’t put anything past Giannis Antetokounmpo and his talented team. They may blitz the Celtics right out of building and send Kyrie Irving to free agency early.
The Bucks also get a nice boost for that goal with Malcolm Brogdon available to return tonight. He has missed a lot of time, so I doubt they throw him out there in the starting lineup and have him play 30-plus minutes.
Regardless, he is another talented defender that the Bucks can throw at Irving, which makes the Celtics’ task that much tougher. Their only chance is to grab the lead early and cling to it with every hope that the Bucks can’t make shots. At this point, three points at the end of 12 minutes of basketball is too many to be spotting the C’s in an elimination game.