Bucks-Celtics: the moment of truth for Kyrie and Giannis arrives

First important exam for Bucks so far intractable; the Celtics, more irregular, will have to show all their talent to win.

Despite the obvious difference and regularity shown by both blocks throughout the year, the tie in which they will face Milwaukee Bucks with Boston Celtics aims to be, surely, the most unpredictable of the four semifinals of the NBA playoffs. On the one hand are the Bucks, one of the most solid and potential teams in the league, both offensively and defensively (they have only lost 8 games at the Fiserv Forum this year). On the other, some pretty irregular Celtics throughout the season, but with a staff brimming with talent and able to transform when facing these eliminatory. It will be the test of fire for a Giannis Antetokounmpo that is signing a brutal course and that arrives better than ever to the shock, until now, more important and difficult of his career. On the opposite side is the best version of a Kyrie Irving that is demonstrating, despite the doubts generated with a future away from Boston, to be a tremendous leader in the decisive moments.

The precedents in the playoffs 1973-74, the end of the NBA: Celtics 4 - 3 Bucks 1982-83, Conference semifinals: Bucks 4 - 0 Celtics 1983-84, End of Conference: Celtics 4 - 1 Bucks 1985-86, End of Conference: Celtics 4 - 0 Bucks 1986-87, Conference semifinals: Celtics 4 - 3 Bucks 2017-18, first round of Conference: Celtics 4 - 3 Bucks

To analyze the rivalry between both franchises in the playoffs, it is necessary to go back to the seventies. Curiously, the first time the faces were seen was in an NBA final, in which John Havlicek, who died a few days ago, ended up becoming the MVP of the finals. At that time, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago were in the Western Conference, hence this clash in the fight for the ring. In the eighties the enmity between the two teams was enhanced, reaching to see the faces up to four times in five seasons. In the midst of rivalry Larry Bird-Magic Johnson, appeared a Bucks led by Sydney Mocrief on the track and Don Nelson on the bench, which could only beat them in one of those crosses. Last year, after three decades of waiting, this confrontation was repeated. One that ended up being very hard because no team lost in their feudo and the tie ended up deciding in the TD Garden of Boston, with a 112-96 that served to give the pass to the Massachusetts. The sensations are identical on this occasion, although the field advantage has those of Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Bucks

Ni the most deluded could imagine at the beginning of the season the results, the game and the sensations that contagious block led by Mike Budenholzer. The reinforcements that have been signed during the course have been to enhance the second line (Pau Gasol and Niko Mirotic mainly) and provide plus experience that the staff may lack in this type of clashes. For the moment, they have not shown any signs of weakness and they have devastated in the first round series some clearly inferior Pistons. Now, in the semifinals, they get the opportunity to take revenge on some Celtics that left them out last year. If they succeed in this crossing, very few will doubt this team as one of the clear candidates for the ring. Their leader, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is in the best moment of his short career and remains as one of the two favorites to take the MVP (along with Harden). The Greek is a point both in attack and defense and the rapport he shows with his teammates is total. This block is able to orbit perfectly around its star, whatever the role or position that Giannis takes at each moment of the game. They are very strong in defense and have a tremendous variety when attacking the rim. The balance offered by Malcolm Brogdon, the tremendous improvement of Eric Bledsoe and the regularity of Khris Middleton (key in the playoffs of last year) are other factors that make this team work as it does.

Boston Celtics

The metamorphosis of this block at the moment of truth is one of the factors that make this tie point to be more balanced. In a season that had at the beginning with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, absent in the important part of the last course, they were much more irregular than in the previous one (they were second after the Cavs and this year they have fought to the end for fourth place). At that time were players like Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris or Terry Rozier III who loaded with the gallons of this franchise, arriving until the door of the grand final, which closed LeBron James. A year later face these plaoffs with the infirmary empty and with an unpolluted 4-0 to the Pacers in their first series. Despite this, none of the four parties has won it in a comfortable way (by more than 10 points) and in several of them they had to come back after a bad first half. Those concessions can pay very expensive against a rival as solid as the one in front of them, but it is precisely against these rivals when they grow up and show their best version. For this they will have an Irving who is signing the highest scoring average of his career. The quality of this player is unquestionable and is capable of transmitting his intensity to the rest of the group. At his side he will have very important players like Marcus Smart or Al Horford, tremendously influential in defense. Jayson Tatum and second-line players like Marcus Morris or Jaylen Brown can also play an important role in this crossroads.

The key

As already said before, the series between Bucks and Celtics aims to be the most unpredictable of all. By the court factor and the sensations of solidity throughout the course, the Bucks aim slightly to be the favorites but, seen as seen, the shock can go perfectly to seven games and resolved by small details. Despite this, there are two factors that can play a crucial role: the defense and the duel of coaches. The Celtics are forced to show a brutal intensity to dry the rival game (highlighting the role of Irving or Smart) and many of the options of this team go through to solidly mark Antetokounmpo. There will enter the role of technicians. Stevens has more experience than Budenholzer and may surprise when looking to minimize the damage that may cause The Greek Freak. By contrast, the Achilles heel of the Boston is the tremendous dependence that generates Irving. If the Bucks are able to stop his feet, his options will grow considerably more.

Photos from as.com
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