Bucks vs. Celtics Game 5 Preview: Boston Has Value on Home Court

Action Network contributor Tyler Schmidt breaks down Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

Bucks vs. Celtics Odds

Bucks Odds +5.5
Celtics Odds -5.5
Over/Under 213.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

This Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks series has gone back and forth each game so far at 2-2. This is now a three-game series with the Celtics still maintaining home-court advantage. They’re healthier than the Bucks and sizable favorites in Game 5 tonight at TD Garden.

It is hard to see this series not going the full length, which means the Celtics more than likely need to figure out a way to win this home game tonight.

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Milwaukee Misses All-Star Middleton

Despite a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter in Game 4, the Bucks lost because they allowed a staggering 43 fourth-quarter points!.

Milwaukee is really missing Khris Middleton, who is out for the rest of this series, according to the team.

With no Middleton, Jrue Holiday has been very aggressive. He has averaged 23 field goal attempts through four games, but is only shooting 33.6% from the field and 30.9% from behind the arc. Holiday has really picked up his defense, though, averaging 2.8 steals and 40 minutes per game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be dominant in the playoffs at 30.1 points and 13.2 rebounds per game, both of which rank third in the NBA. Antetokounmpo is averaging 32 points per game in this series alone, but he’s doing so on 43.5% shooting.

The Celtics have done a fantastic job defending the reigning Finals MVP and the Bucks in general. They ranked first in Defensive Rating during the regular season and are third in the playoffs. They also allowed the second-fewest points in the paint. Boston has a great defensive plan here and has especially played well at home this season.

As far as the Bucks’ role players, it is hard to take Brook Lopez seriously when he plays so poorly on the road. He is averaging 4.8 points per game on the road compared to 17 points at home. Fellow big man Bobby Portis has been nearly the opposite in home and road games. Grayson Allen moved back into the starting lineup last game, but it’s clear Milwaukee really misses Middleton on the perimeter.

Horford-Powered Celtics Return Home

Welcome to the NBA Playoffs, Al Horford!

The 35-year old veteran finished with a playoff career-high 30 points, shooting 11-for-14 from the field and 5-for-7 from behind the arc. The Celtics needed that from Horford without Robert Williams, who’s questionable for this game due to a sore knee.

Williams brings a different type of energy and really sets this Celtics team up for success defensively, which is clear from his eight blocks in three games in this series. His status will be critical to keep an eye on tonight. Horford played 42 minutes in Game 4, partly because of his red-hot shooting and partly because Williams was out.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to be one of the best scoring duos in the playoffs. After an abysmal 4-for-19 shooting in Game 3, Tatum bounced back in a big way in Game 4 with 30 points and 13 rebounds.

Brown can be a bit of a roller-coaster since most of his production comes from scoring. He can get scorching hot from the perimeter like in Game 2, during which he made six 3-pointers. The Bucks during the regular season allowed the most 3-pointers attempted and made per game, so if Brown is hot then he’ll inflict serious damage.

The Bucks rank first in Defensive Rating during the postseason, but a large part of that is that they played five games in the first round against the Bulls, who scored more than 100 points just once against Milwaukee in five games. Boston can go on long lulls where they have a tough time scoring, but the Celtics can also fill it up in a hurry.

Bucks-Celtics Pick

Taking the Celtics in Game 2 seemed to work out really well for me, so I’m going right back to the Celtics in Game 5 covering the spread. I’m not sure I expect the Celtics to win by 23 points again, but they’ll find a way to cover.

The Celtics were 28-13 playing at home this season. This series has seven games written all over it, and that starts with a victory at home for the Celtics.

I would bet this up to -6.5 for the Celtics at home, especially if Robert Williams is in the starting lineup with no limitations. Remember to monitor his status.

Pick: Celtics -5.5 (play to -6.5)