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Why Bucks Are Likely to Advance Despite Game 1 Loss to Celtics

Credit:

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11)

  • The Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 112-90, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.
  • We explain why history is against the Celtics advancing despite being up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Boston Celtics dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal. Al Horford was key in the 112-90 victory with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while playing tremendous defense on likely MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 26 points and tied a playoff career high with 11 assists. Jaylen Brown poured in 19 points and Gordon Hayward contributed 13 points off the bench.

The Game 1 blowout was surprising as Brad Stevens’ team closed as an 8.5-point underdog and entered the series +300 to advance to the conference finals. After stealing home-court advantage, the Celtics have to like their chances of getting past the Bucks.

But history is against the C’s despite being up 1-0.

Since the 1999-00 playoffs, 79 road teams, like the Celtics, have won Game 1. Of those teams, 35 went on to win the series (44.3%). It is important to not overreact to one game. Boston looked like the superior squad in the first contest, but Milwaukee was the better and more consistent unit during the regular season.

Plus, Giannis and Co. being favored before the series began is a good sign for the Bucks. Road teams that win Game 1 have a better chance of winning the series if favored.

In the past 20 postseasons, 11 road teams that were victorious in the opener were also favored to win the series according to SportsOddsHistory. Ten of those teams did so after winning Game 1.

Reminder: The Celtics were +300 entering the conference semifinals.

Boston is just the 26th team since the 2000 playoffs to win Game 1 on the road when entering a series as a +300 or greater underdog. Only three of the previous 25 teams managed to advance to the next round.

Perhaps the Celtics, with a talented and experienced roster, will defy history. The oddsmakers don’t think so. The Bucks (-135) remain the favorites to win the series.

Game 2 is Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, TNT). If the past 20 years are a guide, look for Milwaukee to bounce back as history is on its side to win the series.

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