Celitcs struck back impressively in Match 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In the first half, Jaylen Brown and Co. decode The Bucks’ defense with a simple trick, while Giannis Antetokounmpo is invited to a desert island on the other side. The findings.
1. How Boston interpreted the champion’s defense
After the opening defeat against the Bucks, the offense was the first topic of conversation behind the closed Celtics doors that Grant Williams admitted. Understandable after just ten hits from two and a field shot rate of 33.3 percent. In Game 2, Boston made it a point to swap the good shots from Game 1 – which mostly did not fall – for even better shots.
“In the first game, we played rashly, sometimes forcing our throws. We took the first open three we saw, even though three people came flying,” Williams analyzed after the 109: 86 rematch. “Today we knew that the more we moved the ball, the more opportunities we would have to be really open.”
Movement – this magic word referred not only to the ball but also to the players. The Celtics offensive caused Wilson to run from one corner to the next in the dominant first half, but attacked the zone with several drives in almost every possession to pull the defense apart. After a drive followed the kick-out pass, but instead of completing it right away, the next drive plus kick-out pass came – just long enough for Boston to have not only a good, but the right throw.
“From good to great, we’ve been emphasizing that for a while,” Jayson Tatum said. “They are a very good team, so the first move will not necessarily work, maybe not even the second. You have to keep moving the ball and keep pulling towards the basket until you get the best possible shot. It did we today. “
Numerically, it reads like this: In the first half, the 23 successful field goals were preceded by 17 assists. Downtown’s last 20 hits set a postseason franchise record (on 43 attempts, 46.5 percent). As the ball movement stagnated after the break, offensive production also stagnated.
A good example of the originally excellent ball movement was this possession just four minutes before the end of the first half. The attack took 16 seconds off the clock, after six passes and three runs towards the zone, Al Horford was finally empty in the cordoned off area. “It was exciting to be on the field during this possession,” said Williams, who was the only Celtic who did not touch the ball in this attack, even though he was free in the corner. “Everyone trusted each other, we had fun and that’s how you succeed as a team.”
2. Celtics vs. Bucks: Jaylen B’s return.
The markedly improved offensive also led to a markedly improved litter distribution for the home team. In this case, better means more variable. After 50 three-pointers from just three shots in the middle distance on Sunday, Boston now took 15 attempts from the midfield (though six hits), 23 shots in the zone and 43 from the distance in game 2. To the great delight of coach Ime Udoka.
“We know the middle distance is open,” Udoka said, alluding to the Bucks’ defensive concept of closing the zone if possible. “There’s no need to exaggerate the zone penetration and drive directly into the big ones, or just go for the three-pointer. We have two elite mid-range shooters, and we welcome those shots, especially when they’re in drop coverage.”
It helps, of course, that one of those elite midfielders rehabilitated his weak start to the series impressively in Game 2. On his first throw of the night, a pullup from the long twos, Jaylen Brown was lucky as the ball bounced over the ring , before it fell. But then the basket for the guard was twice as big as usual.
In Game 1, Brown achieved more turnovers (7) than successful field goals (4), and now he was looking for redemption. “He came into the arena focused. You could feel in his demeanor that he was ready for this match. I saw it in his eyes,” Williams said.
“We knew we were going to go out and play as if our whole season was at stake. We did,” Brown explained of his approach, which apparently motivated him to give his best. The 25-year-old was at times so hot that he had more points on the scoreboard than the entire Bucks team for a long time in the first quarter.
17 points in the first section, almost perfect 25 points in the first half (9/10 FG, 5/5 triangles) and 30 points at the end were on the plus side. “We had a great race against Brooklyn, and then in the first game against Milwaukee we got a slap in the face. It woke us up,” Brown said.
After the switch and also in the fourth quarter, Brown was not quite able to build on his spectacular first half. His injured thighs may have bothered him, and Brown was also taken off the track earlier than the other starters. The thigh could “tighten” towards the end of the fights, Udoka explained this safety measure after 38 minutes for Brown. In return, he stressed that he was fine and would be ready for match 3.