Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks predictions, picks and best bets

Celtics Smart cleared for full contact hopeful for Game 4

The hopes for a city slam probably ended Monday when the Boston Celtics lost Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Milwaukee Bucks, 113-101.

The Bucks hold a 3-1 advantage heading into the fifth game.

"They kept a body on me practically the whole game", Irving said. "The effort and the energy when we check into the game". "We weren't ourselves. The next four games, we came out with a different approach, a different mind-set, a killer mind-set, and we were able to win the four games".

TOP PERFORMERS: Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks with 5.9 assists and scores 27.7 points per game. Khris Middleton has made 50 percent of his threes to average 19.3 points per game.

The Bucks will be paired with the victor of the Philadelphia 76ers - Toronto Raptors matchup which is now ongoing. That partly explained why Kerr said a year ago he felt "extremely confident that we're going to take care of business" after the Warriors faced a 3-2 deficit.

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts after making a basket and drawing a foul as Boston Celtics' Marcus Morris (13) turns away during the second half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Monday, May 6, 2019. We took him on with full arms and tried to understand it, but we never really understood because we are not in his shoes. That's all we care about. The Bucks won each game in Boston as the underdogs. Role players like George Hill, Nikola Mirotic and Patrick Connaughton have all stepped up.

Where the Celtics go from here isn't clear. A superstar who was capable of dropping 30 points and dishing out 10 assists on any given night.

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Coming off the bench and on a minutes restriction, Brogdon posted 10 points, four assists and no turnovers with a plus-14 rating in 17 minutes.

"Everybody was ready to play", Hill said.

All of this, all at once, left the Bucks facing the one question that had hung over them all season long: When Antetokounmpo, the likely MVP, has been neutralized, can the Bucks survive? No other Bucks player scored more than 15 points, but it did not matter - especially with the shooting struggles of Kyrie Irving on the other side of the court. Jayson Tatum needed to be firmly told to stop taking pull-up midrange jumpers with 20 seconds on the shot clock from day one, and he was still jacking them up in May.

Boston closed within five on Al Horford's driving layup less than two minutes later, but they would get no closer.

"We just couldn't find a way to do it. It's just going out and trying to manage the game better". In Game 4, he was limited to 10 trips to the stripe, instead destroying the Celtics' interior defense with a blend of spin moves and power slams. He stole an Irving pass and slammed it home to make it 65-52 with 6:45 left in the third quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo is close to unstoppable.

After first saying "the shots just didn't go in", Irving was asked afterward what he can do to shake out of his shooting doldrums. Meanwhile, PJ Tucker has been dominating the boards, averaging five offensive rebounds in the last two games.

Irving praised the Bucks after the game, and didn't do much to tamp down free agency speculation.

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