Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Boston is as vulnerable to be knocked off as any top seed in the playoffs that opens the postseason at home.
But as we’ve seen this season, a vulnerable Celtics team is a dangerous club that will be a tough out regardless of who the opposing team is.
And as you look at the Bucks roster, you see the Greek Freak is surrounded by talented players like Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker and promising young players like Thon Maker and reigning rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon.
You see all that talent and then … you see the 44-38 record.
And then you’re reminded about how they did not show up – at all – in a 130-95 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
More disturbing was how the Bucks began that game on the short end of a 46-18 start, with most of those early minutes going to their regulars.
“You lose by 30, 40 it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia. “Got to go back, get better, work on your game and hopefully when the time is right in the playoff time you can bring your A-game.”
And that’s what you’re afraid of if you’re the Celtics.
At some point, Antetokounmpo is going to have a breakthrough playoff series and lead his team past the first round for the first time since 2001.
NBCSports — Get ready for the Giannis show
Yesterday afternoon my order of preference for the Celtics first round playoff opponent was Miami/Milwaukee/Washington. Now, I know last night didn’t really mean anything for any of those three teams, but after the complete no-show from the Bucks against a Sixers team without Embiid and Redick, I started to recalibrate my aforementioned list.
And now, here it is, it’s Celtics/Bucks for at least four, probably five or six, maybe even seven games over the next two weeks. If you’ve been meaning to get to the Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee before they blow it to smithereens, here’s your chance to do so.
I’ll withhold my prediction, as perhaps we’ll put some together here on the site before Sunday, but I will say this: I feared the Wizards because even though they sleep-walked and bickered through much of the season — most recently losing at home to Atlanta and falling to Chicago last week, they have a switch and they can turn it on. We saw that a few nights ago against the Celtics and we saw almost this identical Wizards roster take the Cs to seven games last season.
I’m not sure Milwaukee has that switch. They can probably flicker for a game or two, led by the brilliance and dominance of Giannis, and they may get a big game from Eric Bledsoe or Jabari Parker here or there, but the Bucks have shown no evidence or ability to play well consistently.
The Bucks’ blitzing defense doesn’t work — and this new coach (we’ll call him “this new coach” because Joe Prunty can’t be a real person, can he?) hasn’t adjusted to better fit his personnel since Jason Kidd was canned. The Bucks’ lack of defensive cohesion and consistency could be the cure for what’s been ailing the Celtics offense lately.
It feels like next year is the year for the Bucks — when they grab a new coach and adopt a new scheme. If the Celtics play how they’re capable of playing, they should win this series, and it shouldn’t take seven.
On page 2, guess where Dwyane Wade thinks Kawhi Leonard will end up?
So, this is Yahoo! writer Jordan Schultz relaying to Dan Patrick what he heard from Dwyane Wade (in the hall after lunch before 6th period). Look, things aren’t too peachy in San Antonio, and with Leonoard more than likely missing the Spurs (short) playoff run, it will set up a very interesting off-season.
What if the Celtics make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals with the Jays leading the way — one of them, of course, would have to go in a deal to get Leonard, right?
We thought this summer would finally be a quiet one: no top draft pick, no hunting for free agents, but Danny’s never quiet, and there’s always something going on in this drama-filled league. Stay tuned.
And finally, if there’s a game seven, we could see Marcus Smart
Celts coach Brad Stevens confirmed an ESPN report that the guard is doing well as he comes back from right thumb surgery. Smart saw a specialist in New York on Monday and returned to Boston to continue his rehab.
“I think from everything that I’ve been told, he’ll be re-evaluated middle of next week,” Stevens said. “The April 27 date is the earliest that I’ve heard that he could be back. So we’ll cross our fingers and see.”
Brad Stevens confirms what we were already thinking, but now that we have the playoff schedule in front of us, it looks as if Smart could suit up if a game seven is necessary. I’d love a game in which Marcus shoots 0 for 6 but grabs 7 rebounds, dishes 5 assists, has a couple steals and then three plays that make you think his thumb might actually fall off, all on the way to ensuring the Cs move on to round two.
As Brad says, we’ll all cross our fingers. Marcus, you just rest yours.