Pregame Post-Ups: Bucks Return Two Key Players Just in Time for Game 1

Sunday, April 15 - Bucks at Celtics

Pregame – Bucks Return Two Key Players Just in Time for Game 1

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics faced the Milwaukee Bucks four times during the regular season, but the version of the Bucks that Boston will go up against Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the first round of the Playoffs is one that it has never seen before.

Milwaukee will open up the Playoffs fully healthy for just the second time all season, thanks to the timely returns of Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova. Both backup guards missed roughly half of the season because of injuries, but they are both fully healthy now, and their collective added presence is one that Celtics coach Brad Stevens says his team has to account for.

“Brogdon and Dellavedova are winners,” Stevens said Sunday morning ahead of tip-off at TD Garden. “Those guys both impact winning, they’re both tough, they both can score, pass, defend, and make plays for themselves and others … So, it will be a great challenge for our guys.”

The most widely discussed challenge that the Celtics are said to be facing during this series is slowing down superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Stevens, however, says that his team has to focus on much more than just the Greek Freak now that Milwaukee is completely healthy again.

“There’s tons of talent on the other side,” said Stevens. “Last year’s Rookie of the Year comes off the bench in Brogdon. Jabari Parker (missed the first three and a half months of the season) has been an elite scorer and has really had a good ending of the season. (Khris) Middleton averages 20 (points) a game. (Tony) Snell can really shoot it. Eric Bledsoe (added early in the season) has given them another dimension in transition. And then the bigs are elite running to the rim, and in both pick-and-roll and in transition. So, this is a really hard team to play against, a really talented team, because they’ve got really good players all over the place.”

The Celtics, of course, are in a completely different situation entering the series. They are on the opposite side of the spectrum health-wise, missing two star players and a couple of key guys off the bench.

Knowing that, and the fact that Milwaukee is finally completely healthy with the returns of Brogdon and Dellavedova, Stevens says, “We’re going to have to play exceptionally well possession-to-possession in order to have a chance to win.”

- Taylor Snow