Bold predictions for Bucks-Celtics Game 4

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks hold a 2-1 lead over the Boston Celtics heading into Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup.

Game 4 is a pivotal battle. Either the Bucks will take a commanding 3-1 lead that historically would lead to an overall series victory, or the Celtics will even things up.

Here, we offer up some bold predictions for Game 4 between these two Eastern Conference superpowers.

Marcus Smart returns, scores 15 points

Smart has been out nearly a month after suffering a torn oblique. A key player for Boston when healthy, he’s a strong perimeter defender whom the Celtics have missed.

The latest reports indicate Smart could play in Game 4 after he was cleared for contact and participated in Sunday’s walkthrough. Given his competitive nature, and his progress recovering from this injury, we expect Smart to play. We also expect him to play well. Despite some early rust, he’ll find ways to score and pour in at least 15 points.

Giannis Antetokounmpo gets 40-plus point triple-double

Since suffering through a miserable performance in the first game of this series, Antetokounmpo has taken over the series, getting progressively better in the two games the Bucks have won.

Following up on his 32/13/8 performance in Game 3, we’re predicting a veritable hoop dream for the Greek Freak in Game 4 — a triple-double that includes more than 40 points. He will put it together with a tremendous all-around performance that signals his progression as one of the top-three players the Association has to offer.

Kyrie Irving finally regains his shooting touch

Irving opened the series with a strong shooting game, hitting 12-of-21 shots from the field while leading Boston to a convincing win in Game 1. Since then, he’s lost his touch in a major way, converting just 12-of-40 from the field.

With so many bricks being laid, Boston hasn’t been able to keep up with Milwaukee’s offensive attack. If the Celtics are going to get back into this series in Game 4, Irving will have to be a more efficient scorer. Thankfully for Celtics fans, we’re predicting he does just that with a strong shooting night at the Garden.

Celtics will tie the series up, 2-2

Despite what we predict will be a legendary performance from Antetokounmpo, Boston will find a way to pull out a victory in front of its home crowd. It’s going to be an offensive shootout, and big-shot Irving will come up with a game-winning three to pull his team even in the series.