Boston will host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday at TD Garden.
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Marcus Smart on Bucks Dodging The Nets: ‘That Was Their Choice’
After losing their regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Bucks entered the playoffs as the no. 3 seed. However, this was very much by choice, as Milwaukee sat members of its starting lineup, including Giannis Antetokunmpo, and Jrue Holiday, to dodge a potential first-round matchup against the Nets.
Celtics starting point guard, Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart spoke on the Bucks’ strategy ahead of his best-of-7 matchup. He reminded reporters at his media availability this week of the path the Bucks chose to take with a second-round matchup against him and the Celtics.
“It happened. We see it. I mean, it’s part of the game,” Smart said, following a practice, this week. “That was their choice. They decided to do that. That’s on them. We’re not worried about anybody but ourselves. We could care less what anybody else does. They’re the defending champs. So, they have every right to do whatever they please. And, if that means that they thought by doing that they didn’t need home court against us, or they weren’t too worried about us, that’s fine.
“We’ll go out, and we’ll play our game. We’ll let our game do the talking and see where it leads us.”
Three-time All-Star Jayson Tatum is excited about the challenge.
“Really good team, defending champs,” Tatum said after this week’s practice. “They’ve been there before. They’ve got the job done. So, obviously, this is going to be a great challenge. I’m just looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun.”
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton would miss Milwaukee’s Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the Celtics. Middleton suffered a left MCL sprain, which according to Shams, puts the sharpshooter’s availability for a potential appearance in the Eastern Conference finals in jeopardy, as well.
Can Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton Emerge in Khris Middleton’s Absence?
The Bucks managed to finish their best-of-7 series against the Chicago Bulls in five games without Middleton in the lineup, beating the Bulls 4-1.
Bucks reserve shooting guards Grayson Allen, and Pat Connaughton have been the primary beneficiaries in Middleton’s absence. Allen scored a postseason career-high 27 points, including six 3-pointers in Game 4’s 119-95 win against Chicago. Then, he followed it up by draining 3-of-6 from deep in the 116-100 series-clinching win in Game 5, where Connaughton netted 20 points on 7-of-11 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from behind the arc.
The Celtics will host the Bucks on Sunday, May 1, at 1:00 EST.