Boston Celtics attempt to regain series control vs. Bucks in Game 4

NBA Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics hope to regain control in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4

The Boston Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight as they attempt to regain control of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

Twice in NBA history, the Celtics have come back from a 3-1 deficit, but tonight they are in a do-or-die situation at home to avoid attempting the franchises first 3-1 comeback since 1981.

Teams that lead 3-1, go on to win the series 75 percent of the time, and 89 percent advance after a 3-2 lead. So heading into Game 4, the Celtics gameplan is simple, defend home court with their lives and head into Milwaukee tied at two apiece.

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Boston is hopeful they can welcome guard Marcus Smart back to action tonight, after sitting out with a partially torn oblique since April 7. They’ll need him back in the rotation if they want to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks continue to ride their Greek superstar as he’s averaged 27.6 points, 10 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game in the series. Antetokounmpo has only topped 35 minutes once in the series.

The MVP Candidate put up 29 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the Game 2 win, and 32, 13 and eight in the Game 3 victory in Boston.

The six-time NBA All-Star and one-time NBA Champion, Kyrie Irving struggled in Game 2 going 4-for-18 shooting but bounced back in Game 3 with 29 points on 22 attempts and eight makes.

In the series, Irving has averaged, 21.3 points, seven assists, five rebounds in 35.3 minutes per game on 38.6 percent shooting. Irving needs to be aggressive, similar to Game 3 in order for the C’s to win, and not settle for threes.

Irving didn’t attempt ONE free-throw in Games 1 and 2. Yes, you read that correctly.

In Game 3, he went 11-for-12 from the charity stripe and Boston scored a series-high 116 points. Irving has attempted 18 3-pointers and only made five, a mere 27.7 percent.

When Irving’s aggressive and getting the lane the Celtics are at their best.

Each game in the series has started after halftime. Both teams have made adjustments, but Bucks’ Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, has Celtics’ Brad Stevens number in the third quarter and that’s been the difference in this series.

The third quarter has been explosive for both teams, as they’ve scored more in third than any other semifinals teams combined. Milwaukee has 112 points over three games; tallying 33, 39 at home and 40 in Boston, averaging 37.3 per game.

Boston’s third quarters have been stellar offensively as well with 85 points. The Celtics scored 36 and 18 in away contests; and 31 in Game 3 at TD Garden.

In Game 1, the C’s won the third quarter, 36-21, due to an early 10-0 run and ending the quarter on a 12-5 run. Boston won Game 1, 112-90.

In Game 2, the Bucks went a dominating 24-2 run and 39-18  quarter overall en route to a 123-102 win at home.

Game 3 in Boston, Milwaukee used a 12-0 run to their advantage in a 71 point quarter between the two teams. Milwaukee won that quarter 41-30, and the game 123-116.

It’s safe to say whoever comes out the second half tonight and makes the adjustments to win the third quarter will win the game.

The last time the Celtics were down 2-1 in a series was 2016 -17 with Isaiah Thomas against Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics lost the series 4-1.

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For the Bucks, the last time they lead a series 2-1 after the first round of the playoffs was the 2000-01 Eastern Conference Finals versus Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Milwaukee went on to lose the series in seven games.

Game 4 tonight.