The Milwaukee Bucks made a small exclamation point in Game 1 of the Conference Semifinals at the Boston Celtics even without Khris Middleton. In the 101: 89 victory, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored poorly from the field, but dominated all other facets of the game. Celtics stars disappoint.
Giannis Antetokounmpo made a triple-double (24 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) and was the man of the match despite a poor shot rate (9/25 FG, 6/11 FT). The top scorer for the Bucks was Jrue Holiday with 25 points, who also snatched 10 rebounds and convinced on the defensive (3 steals). As a Middleton representative, Bobby Portis also contributed a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds).
The two stars on the Celtics side each performed poorly. Jayson Tatum added 21 points but fell back into old patterns in terms of efficiency (6/18 FG), and Jaylen Brown also experienced a real night of horror (12, 4/13 FG, 7 TO). Robert Williams returned to start five after his injury, Daniel Theis only came off the bench for 4 minutes (2 points, 1 rebound).
The Bucks ‘first possession was a taste of one of the series’ most important matchups: Giannis vs. Horford. The experienced Big Man forced a turnover, a problem Milwaukee had throughout the first quarter. The Bucks lost 7 balls, but the Celtics could only do a little with the resulting fast break situations, and the many open threes did not really want to fall (4/11 3 FG).
After a timeout and a heated argument between Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and Holiday, the visitors put more pressure on the ball on the defensive, forcing the Celts to make mistakes. Giannis found his way into the zone several times and served his teammates on the edge (4 assists), bringing Milwaukee slightly ahead after the first 12 minutes (27:24).
Giannis Antetokounmpo is against Boston everywhere
The Celts’ star duo was not a factor in the first round (5/18 FG, 6 TO total), especially Tatum dribbled often and had trouble completing the ring. Giannis, on the other hand, had a dominant first half (14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), the Greek was directly involved in 34 points for the Bucks and relentlessly left his mark on the game. Milwaukee did most of the damage from long range (10/20 3FG), resulting in a 10-point lead for the visitors at the break.
Tatum lowered his first two attempts from the center at the start of the second half and seemed keen to make the weak first half forget. But the visitors quickly took the wind out of the sails from the Celtics’ initial offensive. Holiday threw hell after the Celtics’ perimeter players in defense, while Brook Lopez behind him patrolled the zone and protected the basket. Although the Bucks cooled down a bit (0/8 3FG), Holiday and Portis kept the visitors afloat in the offensive line. Giannis unnecessarily got his third and fourth errors late in the third quarter and was sent off the bench, but even without the Greek freak, Boston could not take advantage of the minutes.
In the last quarter, the visitors made sure of clear conditions early on and kept their lead at double digits. After a Holiday triple to 92:78, Brad Stevens had seen enough, the TV cameras caught the Celtics president leaving his seat about seven minutes before the end. The Celts did not really gasp, eventually head coach Ime Udoka threw the white towel in the ring two minutes before the final buzzer and emptied his bench.
The most important statistic
Boston Celtics (2) vs Milwaukee Bucks (3) 89: 101 (BOXSCORE), Series: 0-1
- The first half went exactly as the Bucks wanted it to. They locked the zone and invited Boston to lots of triangles. The Celtics hit 10 of them but missed 18. Overall, 28 throws from distance in one half was a new playoff record for the Celtics. In contrast, there were only 18 finishes in the zone and only 11 directly at the ring. The second quarter was emblematic for the Celtics in the first half. There were 10 triples out of 16 degrees.
- Milwaukee’s offense was also dependent on the three-pointer (10/20 in the first half), the Bucks got many more easy points for that. During the quick break alone, the guests already had 18 points at the break (BOS: 6). However, the Bucks’ three-pointers were also significantly freer because Anteteokounmpo pulled so much help. The Greek, like the whole team, started shaking, but the Bucks got these problems under control as a result.
- Boston ended up scoring better from the outside (36 percent) than from the two (29.4, 34 percent from the field overall), things that are extremely rare to see. Combine that with 18 turnovers – Milwaukee generated 11 steals – and it’s a pretty toxic mix. By the way: The last time the Celtics scored worse was almost three years ago – in the conference semifinal against the Milwaukee Bucks.
- And one more statistic about Boston’s debacle from the two. According to Head of State It has only been three times in the Shot Clock era up to this night that a team has sunk under 10 field goals from doubles, regular season and playoffs combined! The Celtics still reached that mark in garbage time, but that’s another indicator of the Bucks’ dominance in the zone.
Celtics vs. Bucks: The Voice of the Game
Ime Udoka (Celtics head coach): “We did not make good decisions. I felt like Jayson and Jaylen were not in their rhythm today and missed some of the shots they usually take.”
Game star: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Although his odds may seem weak, it was a demonstration of the Greek’s strength. Above all, the passing game for the reigning Finals MVP was impressive, Giannis repeatedly surprising the Celtics defense with passes from difficult angles or passes without looking. The middle-class jumper fell, and his presence was visible under the basket as Boston took almost no shots on the ring – due to the huge respect for the 27-year-old.
Game flop: Jaylen Brown
This was a return to ancient times. Brown made some outrageous ball losses, which Milwaukee punished mercilessly in the transition. His drives also went virtually nowhere, so the forward was hardly a factor. Later in the game, Brown seemed to want to force it, but little came along. If the Celtics are to succeed in this series, much more needs to come.
That was a statement. The dominance of Antetokounmpo does not get better than this than with this scene describe about six minutes before the end. Grant Williams seemed to have stopped the Greek, but the Greek spun at the free-throw line, threw the ball towards the board and then stopped his own “miss” through the trap. The T-Mac was certainly proud.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Series Overview
|1||May 1||at 19||Boston Celtics||Milwaukee Bucks||89: 101|
|2||May 4||1 o’clock||Boston Celtics||Milwaukee Bucks||–|
|3||May 7||21.30||Milwaukee Bucks||Boston Celtics||–|
|4||May 10||1:30||Milwaukee Bucks||Boston Celtics||–|
|5 *||May 12||TBD||Boston Celtics||Milwaukee Bucks||–|
|6 *||May 14||TBD||Milwaukee Bucks||Boston Celtics||–|
|7 *||May 16||TBD||Boston Celtics||Milwaukee Bucks||–|