Bucks vs. Celtics Game 7 Preview: Will Boston Advance to the Conference Finals?

Austin Wang previews Game 7 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. He breaks down the matchup and shares a best bet.

Bucks vs. Celtics Odds

Bucks Odds +5
Celtics Odds -5
Over/Under 207.5
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Game 7. The two sweetest words in basketball. One of the most exciting series of the year comes down to one final game on Sunday afternoon. The basketball has not always been pretty, but there has been plenty of drama.

The Boston Celtics were expected to cruise past the Milwaukee Bucks with ease as -210 favorites before the series started. The Bucks have been without their star forward Khris Middleton.

The series started off poorly for the Celtics as the Bucks came into Boston and stole Game 1 with a commanding 101-89 victory. The Celtics found their shot in Game 2 and responded in a big way to even the series.

The Celtics looked like they were about to come away with a win on the road in Game 3, but the Bucks responded with two big baskets late to sneak by with a 103-101 victory. In Game 4, the Celtics outscored the Bucks, 43-28, in the fourth quarter behind Al Horford’s 30 points and five 3-pointers to even up the series.

In Game 5, the Celtics once again appeared to be well on their way to a 3-2 series lead, but the Bucks executed perfectly down the stretch. Bobby Portis saved the day with a crucial offensive rebound and basket, then Jrue Holiday made two clutch defensive plays to seal the impressive comeback effort.

The Bucks had a chance to close this series out at home in Game 6, but Jayson Tatum was too much. He scored 46 points with seven 3-pointers and forced a Game 7.

Each team has traded haymakers with one another in this zig-zag series. Home-court advantage has not meant much as each team has gone 1-2 straight up at home.

Now, here we are. There are 48 minutes left to determine which team will likely go on to win the NBA championship.

Can Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive season? Or will the Celtics’ young stars Tatum and Jalen Brown succeed in the biggest game of their young careers?

Let’s break down this exciting Game 7.

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Do the Bucks Have Enough Reinforcements?

Antetokounmpo has been incredible this series, but he’s had to carry quite a load on his shoulders. He scored 40-plus points in back-to-back games and has been unstoppable as he bullies his way into the paint with brute force and physicality.

He has attempted double-digit free throws in five of the six games in this series. Game 7’s usually don’t have as many whistles, so I’m not so sure Antetokounmpo will get as many calls.

Another problem the Bucks are facing is that Antetokounmpo is not getting much help from his teammates. Only two other players (Holiday and Pat Connaughton) scored in double figures in Game 6 and Grayson Allen has been a dud for this entire series.

Holiday has come up big in several moments in this series, but he has been struggling with his shot. He is 47-for-133 from the field and is shooting 35.3%. The Bucks will need him to step up in Game 7 if they want a chance to win.

Middleton will remain out with a left knee injury and his presence has been sorely missed. Dating back to last season, the Bucks are 14-15 straight up and 12-17 against the spread in games without Middleton, per the SDQL at Gimme The Dog.

If things go the way they have been going, Antetokounmpo may need to play all 48 minutes for the Bucks to win. The rest of Milwaukee’s team is just overmatched against Boston’s diversified attack.

Which Role Player Steps Up for the Celtics?

This series has been a coming of age for young stars Tatum and Brown. They’ve already had a few successful seasons together, but taking this team to the next level in the playoffs will help them continue their ascension into superstardom.

Game 6 was a perfect time for their shots to start falling. The duo had its best offensive output since Game 2, hitting 17 3-pointers on 39.5% shooting from behind the arc. They only committed eight turnovers, their lowest mark all series. Getting an efficient win on the road will also provide plenty of confidence going into Game 7.

Robert Williams III has missed three consecutive games as he continues to heal from a torn meniscus and a bone bruise that he suffered in Game 3. He is listed as questionable for Game 7. Even if he is able to return, I expect him to be on a minutes restriction.

Williams’ absence has given Derrick White and Grant Williams additional minutes. Grant Williams started this series strong, but slowly declined over the last few games and shot 5-for-24 from the field in Games 3-6.

White has taken this opportunity to shine and he’s finished with a positive Plus/Minus in five consecutive games. With thin benches on both teams, White is able to come in and give the Celtics a leg up against the Bucks’ second unit.

Bucks-Celtics Pick

It is a Game 7, so let’s have some fun and start off with a player prop. As mentioned above, White has been the main beneficiary to Timelord out.

White has seen increased usage and averaged a shade under 32 minutes in the previous three games. He contributes so much across the board stat-wise, so I am eyeing the over his Points + Rebounds + Assists line of 15.5 (up to 16.5). I think the line is short as White has gone over this number in four consecutive games.

Home court has not mattered all series, but I think it will here. TD Garden will be rocking in support of the home team. The Bucks have the best player in Antetokounmpo, but one man can’t do it all. The Celtics have a stronger defense and the better supporting cast around Tatum. I really liked what I saw from the Celtics in Game 6 with Tatum taking his game to the next level.

Home favorites off a series game where they had an Assist-to-Turnover Ratio of 2.5 or greater have gone 74-45-1 (62.2%) ATS dating back to the 2002-2003 season, per the SDQL at Gimme The Dog.

This is active on the Celtics and shows their stellar efficiency in the previous game. This, coupled with their strong shooting numbers, gives me confidence they can continue this efficiency into Game 7.

I anticipate we will have a historic game to conclude this amazing series. I am backing the Celtics to win and cover in Game 7.

Pick: Celtics -5 | Derrick White Over 15.5 PRA (-130)