NBA Playoffs picks, odds for Nets at Celtics, Bulls at Bucks and 76ers at Raptors on Wednesday

The Boston Celtics-Brooklyn Nets matchup lived up to expectations in Game 1. How will Game 2 follow that up? Also on Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls try to steal a road game at the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors hope to get on the board at home against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, The Athletic’s writers will make their picks, straight up. We put our picks and all series coverage, plus the latest odds, all in one place for fans to easily digest and follow. Our in-depth NBA coverage is linked below the picks. Game recaps and previews by Zach Harper. For live NBA odds from BetMGM, click here.

No. 7 Brooklyn Nets at No. 2 Boston Celtics — 7 p.m. ET

Team Spread Total money line

+135

-3.5

226.5

-160

Game 1: Celtics 115, Nets 114 | Celtics lead 1-0

Keystat: 20 and 15. That was the game Al Horford had out of nowhere… 20 points and 15 rebounds. Since leaving the Hawks, Horford has put up only three 20-and-15 games. Eleven in 2019, eleven earlier this year and eleven in the playoffs … on Sunday.

What can the Celtics do to win Game 2? It took them way too long to start blitzing Kyrie Irving with that extra defender in an aggressive way that forced him to give up the ball. If they can start doing that while not giving up a runway for Kevin Durant to get going, they can take Game 2.

What can the Nets do to win Game 2? They had 62 points out of Durant and Irving and barely lost the game. Getting Durant space to operate is huge for them, and they need to see it happen early and often. If they can add in some opportunities for Seth Curry and Patty Mills to make some shots, they should be able to even up the series.

Writer straight up pick

Dave DuFour

Richard Deitsch

Andrew Schlecht

Michael Beller

sam vecenie

Jason Jones

James L. Edwards III

Cole Huff

Oh Moyal


No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers at No. 5 Toronto Raptors — 8 p.m. ET

Team Spread Total money line

-1.5

216.5

-130

+105

Game 2: 76ers 112, Raptors 97 | 76ers lead 2-0

Keystat: +16. The Sixers were +16 in free-throw makes in a game they ended up winning by 15. Granted, it was a much bigger lead prior to a meaningless fourth-quarter deficit cut by Toronto, but the Sixers have been dominant in getting to the free-throw line. The Raptors have to play with more force and control if they want to get some of those free throws headed their way.

What can the Sixers do to win Game 3? They have to keep putting pressure on the middle of the court. Do that, and keep attacking closeouts aggressively when the ball swings and the defense scrambles to recover. Things will be tougher on the road, and they won’t have Matisse Thybulle. But playing the same way they have—with a lot of force—will do the trick.

What can the Raptors do to win Game 3? Their activity on defense has been really slow. The more controlled chaos the Raptors create on defense, the more they can throw Philadelphia out of this rhythm. They got a good shooting spurt from Fred VanVleet, but he and Pascal Siakam have to play like All-Stars. The shooting has to last more than just a quarter.

Writer straight up pick

Dave DuFour

Richard Deitsch

Andrew Schlecht

Michael Beller

sam vecenie

Jason Jones

James L. Edwards III

Cole Huff

Oh Moyal


No. 6 Chicago Bulls at No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks — 9:30 p.m. ET

Team Spread Total money line

+400

-9.5

224.5

-550

Game 1: Bucks 93, Bulls 86 | Bucks lead 1-0

Keystat: 60 points on 71 shots. That’s what DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic gave Chicago in its seven-point loss in Game 1. That’s pretty brutal production.

Should the Bulls be worried? Of course they should. It’s good they didn’t get blown out in Game 1, but this is a team that couldn’t beat good teams during the season, and they might be facing the best team in the East.

What can the Bucks do to win Game 2? They need to tighten up some of the offense they played in Game 1. They missed a ton of outside looks, and they had 21 turnovers. If they take care of the ball and shoot a little better, they should cruise to a 2-0 series lead. Also, don’t let Giannis Antetokounmpo get into foul trouble again.

What can the Bulls do to win Game 2? They have to find a way to score. Only 32 points in the paint, and only five fast-break points despite 21 turnovers from Milwaukee. They only scored 15 points off those turnovers. The Bulls have to find opportunities for easy buckets and try putting the pressure on the Bucks to make shots down the stretch.

Writer straight up pick

Dave DuFour

Richard Deitsch

Andrew Schlecht

Michael Beller

sam vecenie

Jason Jones

James L. Edwards III

Cole Huff

Oh Moyal


Hollinger: Picking every 2022 NBA playoff series
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(Photo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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