Tom Haberstroh picks Bucks to beat Celtics in second-round series


The Boston Celtics were able to sweep the Indiana Pacers in their first-round matchup of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. In Round 2, they will take on the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in a series that will be decidedly more difficult. But despite the Bucks' talent, NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh thinks the Celtics will make this a closely contested series.

Haberstroh is predicting a seven-game series, much like last year's Celtics-Bucks series. However, Haberstroh has the Bucks pulling out a victory in the seventh game to send the Celtics home.

The big thing that Haberstroh is watching in this series is whether the Celtics go with a big lineup or a small lineup to combat the Bucks. Milwaukee has great floor spacing, and center Brook Lopez has become a very good 3-point shooter. Because of this the C's may go with a smaller lineup, and that's what Haberstroh is expecting them to do.

The bet here is that the Celtics go small to get Hayward on the floor as much as possible. Though the Celtics lost the December matchup with Horford and Baynes sidelined, it was telling that Stevens started Hayward at the power forward slot and Ojeleye at center. Because of Lopez’s spacing from deep, sizing up against the Bucks has limited value.

Ojeleye could end up being an X-factor in the series if he is, in fact, put into the starting lineup as Haberstroh pointed out. He would give the team more versatility and without Marcus Smart, they may try to use him as their defensive stopper. If they do that, it will be interesting to see how exactly the Celtics plan to use Aron Baynes and Al Horford.

Check out Haberstroh's full second-round predictions for the Eastern Conference>>>

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