Kyle Carr: What has been your impressions of the series so far?
Bill Sy: It’s been fun watching these teams feel each other out. After the turnover debacles that determined the first few games, both teams have cleaned up their offenses and seemed to have figured out how they’re going to attack each other and what they’re willing to give up on defense. Do you think the Bucks hot shooting is sustainable?
KC: I do think Milwaukee’s shooting can be sustainable, just because of the shot profile they currently have. Most of Milwaukee’s baskets are around the rim which Giannis thrives in and also the three where players like Khris Middleton (more on him), Tony Snell, Jabari Parker, Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker can hit around 35-40% all season. Middleton has been historically amazing this series so it’s possible a couple of his shots may start regressing towards the mean. Who has stood out to you this series for the Celtics and the Bucks?
BS: Obviously for the Celtics, the bright spots have been the maturation of Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, and especially Jaylen Brown. They’ve responded as starters and primary options in the playoffs and that will pay dividends for the rest of the post season and their careers in Boston. Brown has been really special because all the knocks on him coming out of Cal--the lack of a handle and his jump shot--have been obliterated by his performance at the end of the regular season and in these last four games. For Milwaukee, I was afraid that Joe Prunty would figure out that he needed to start Malcolm Brogdon and Brogdon has responded. That dude is just so solid and I wonder if he can co-exist in a back court with Eric Bledsoe moving forward. I’ve also been impressed with Jabari Parker. He’s always reminded me of Paul Pierce and I’m really happy he’s performing on this stage after all the injuries. What happens to Parker this off-season?
KC: I don’t know what exactly happens to Jabari. In games 1 and 2, I would have been totally fine with letting Jabari walk and feel like it would help the team. Jabari has always been bad defensively, but in game 1 and 2, he didn’t even look like he was trying or caring. Games 3 and 4 was a whole different Jabari and this was the player fans want to see on the court. Right now I can still see some sort of future in Milwaukee as they can match an offer he signs and a new coaching staff may utilize and treat him better. I would feel ok with Jabari coming back to Milwaukee for a max of 12mil/yr with the knowledge that he would have a 6th man role. Do you see any big adjustments made by either team this series?
BS: Well, the wild card is Marcus Smart. If he plays tonight, all bets are off. He’s not so much an adjustment, but he could go in there and just make a mess of things. For example, I wrote about his defensive affect on Khris Middleton. Now, he could have a negative impact on offense and be a net zero player, but Smart is Smart. Celtics fans will live and die with that guy. Other than Smart, you could see the Celtics go small more often. In Game 4, Stevens went with more Ojeleye (and Marcus Morris) and less Moose Monroe. If John Henson can return, should he?
KC: With Thon Maker being one of the greatest rim protectors overnight, it has made John Henson’s role interesting. In the first two games, Henson overall was one of the few players who was a positive on the court for the Bucks during games 1 and 2. If he is 100%, I would be ok with him taking Zeller’s minutes but that’s it. He isn’t a player Milwaukee absolutely needs on the court especially with the Bucks having stints with Giannis at the 5. Which player on the Celtics needs to improve their performance?
BS: Terry Rozier was 3-for-15 from behind the arc in the Bradley Center. In Games 1 and 2, he shot a scorching 7-for-14. That 3 to 6 points per game could swing the outcome of Game 5 and ultimately, the Rozier complexion of the series. I’m not sure if Bucks fans and bloggers have picked up on the folklore surrounding Scary Terry, but it’s real. I hate to say that he has to “improve” his performance, but a more engaged Rozier (with Smart chipping in) could tip the balance. Speaking of point guards, should the Bucks hold on to both Bledsoe and Brogdon?
KC: Both Bledsoe and Brogdon are free agents next year. I don’t think the Bucks should keep both Bledsoe and Brogdon due to possible cost for the two. Both players will possibly be around 15mil/year and 30 million going to two point guards that doesn’t take you to the next level is a bad idea. Khris Middleton most likely opt out next summer also and with how he has been this year, Milwaukee will want to get him signed first. I would pick Brogdon more than Bledsoe because of age (Brogdon will 26 while Bledsoe will be 29) and fit with Giannis as Brogdon can play off the ball and is a better shooter than Bledsoe. Who wins the series?
BS: At this point, I really don’t know. This series has mirrored so much the Celtics’ regular season. They’ve looked brilliant at times, but during long stretches, their offense has been anemic. And after being the best defensive team in the league, they’re a sieve and the worst of the remaining teams in the playoffs. I should be more confident because they should be up 3-1, but the basketball gods have had a cruel sense of humor this season. I initially said Celtics in 6, but this has been so much. Let’s go the distance and the Celtics finish this thing off on Saturday in 7. Who ya got?
KC: I’m really torn as Milwaukee has been able to make adjustments that benefit them and the play of Giannis and Khris will keep Milwaukee in this. If the bench of Jabari Parker, Matthew Dellavedova, and Thon Maker can continue to provide positive contributions, Milwaukee can win this series. Boston hasn’t been able to react well to the switching defense Milwaukee has provided and until they show they are able to, I’m going to reverse my initial prediction and say the popular Bucks in 6 will be fulfilled.