Things are looking good for the Boston Celtics as they head into Game 7 of the opening round series in Boston on Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
There are a few reasons for this but the main outlying one is that both the Celtics and Bucks have dominated at home, while winning in convincing fashion each time out.
But there are a couple exceptions to this.
The Bucks almost took Game 1 in Boston and the Celtics almost took Game 4 Milwaukee, but neither team could knock off the home team in this first round matchup of the NBA Playoffs.
Now the Celtics have the chance to close out the series at home on Saturday night in what should be an epic Game 7.
So far in this series, the Celtics have only shot better than 42 percent once, while averaging 42.5 percent from the field for the series.
Whereas the Bucks have shot better than 48 percent in five-of-six games, for an average of 50.75 percent shooting from the field in the series.
Surprisingly the Bucks are shooting better than the Celtics from beyond the arc in the series at 38.2 percent compared to the C’s 35.4 percent.
And by no surprise, the Bucks are committing almost five more fouls-per-game than the Celtics.
NOTE: During the regular season the Bucks committed almost two more fouls-per-game than the C’s.
With that being said, the Celtics are averaging an extra four-plus free throw attempts-per-game than the Bucks at a whopping 24.8 clip. And to no surprise both teams are shooting right around their season averages from the line.
The Celtics have been dominating the boards. Like straight up dominating.
Boston is out-rebounding Milwaukee in the series by a whopping 23 boards at 297-to-274.
If the C’s want to move onto the the next round, it’ll be important for them to devise a plan to at least contain and limit Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Through six games, “The Greek Freak,” is averaging just shy of a double-double with 26.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, to go along with 6.5 assists and 1.7 steals. And he’s shooting an impressive 59.6 percent from the field.
But Antetokounmpo isn’t the only one shooting the ball well for the Bucks.
Guard Khris Middleton is shooting 59.6 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from deep. Which ends up being good for 23.5 points-per-game, to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Rising star Jaylen Brown has really stepped up his game for the Celtics throughout this opening round as he leads the way for all the Celts’ scorers.
Pretty ball movement leads to a Jaylen trey! pic.twitter.com/m0p5BmuffO— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 27, 2018
Brown is averaging a team-high 20.5 points on 48 percent shooting, in addition to 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists. And he’s shooting a favorable 40.5 percent from three.
X-Factor Al Horford has played consistently in this series and has provided that much needed spark on the defensive end. Especially with having to cover the Bucks’ best player in Antetokounmpo.
The five-time All-Star is sniffing a double-double average for the series with 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds-per-game, on 54 percent shooting from the field.
Oh and we can’t forget about the emergence of rookie sensation Jayson Tatum.
Through the first six playoff games of his career, he’s averaging 14.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists through 32.4 minutes-per-game.
The sharp-shooting forward is shooting 40 percent from the field, but has struggled from deep, shooting a measly 31.8 percent, compared to his season average of 43.3 percent, which ranked eighth in the NBA.
And forward Marcus Morris has scored double-digit points in five of the six games coming off the C’s bench.
NBA Playoffs: Celtics Downsize, “Beigs” See Minutes Decline
Both teams are averaging less points-per-game compared to their season averages, but that’s expected in the playoffs because teams tend to buckle down more on the defensive end of things.
If the Celtics can limit turnovers, maintain their dominance on the boards and can shoot better than 42 percent from the field, while knocking down the loads of freebies from Milwaukee, they should be able to find a way to knock off the Bucks in the best-of-seven series.
Saturday’s Game 7 will be the second Game 7 played at the TD Garden in less than three days after the Boston Bruins knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night to advance into the next round of the NHL Playoffs.
And it will be head coach Brad Stevens’ second trip to Game 7 after winning last year’s second round Game 7 against the Washington Wizards.
UP NEXT: The Boston Celtics (55-27/3-3) will welcome the Milwaukee Bucks (44-38/3-3) to the TD Garden on Saturday night for Game 7 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for all Celtics content, including news, podcasts, feature stories, and more.