Unlike the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the NHL, the story in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs is unfolding just as expected. The Boston Celtics have already advanced to the second round by virtue of a sweep of the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers. The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers both hold 3-1 series advantages and will look to close out their first round on Tuesday.
And, of course, the East’s top seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, are looking to follow in the Celtics footsteps and sweep their way to the second round on Monday. Looking at tonight’s NBA odds, it seems to favor that outcome which would set up a second-round clash with Boston. Milwaukee is listed as heavy favorites for the game and the numbers will show that the Pistons are going to have a hard time beating the East’s top seed.
The Bucks have thoroughly dominated their matchup with the Detroit Pistons to this point to the tune of a 24-point average margin of victory through three games. Look no further than Giannis Antetokounmpo for the Bucks regular season, and now, playoff success. He has Milwaukee on the verge of their first playoff series victory since the Pistons were dominating the East.
The Pistons have had to try and slow down the Bucks without Blake Griffin, who missed the first two games before returning for Game three. Not that it would have made much of a difference seeing as the Bucks beat the Pistons by 57 points combined in the first two games in Milwaukee. Game three was a bit closer with Griffin—they only lost by 16 points.
“I think we definitely need some rest after Game 4, but we’re trying not to think about that,” Antetokounmpo said via the New York Post. “We’re going to come in, be hungry and try to win that game. It’s going to be a nice feeling — I’ve never won a playoff series.”
Despite his modesty, Giannis sees the writing on the wall as does much of the NBA fanbase. The Pistons may steal one at home but all it is doing is delaying the inevitable first-round playoff exit for Detroit. For Milwaukee, it would be beneficial for them to end the series early as their potential opponent, the Boston Celtics, are already waiting for them.