In a masterful defensive performance, the Milwaukee Bucks held the Boston Celtics to a 90.1 offensive rating en route to a 1-0 series lead behind a 101-89 lead.
With four turnovers in the first five minutes of the game, the Bucks’ sloppy first-round play was carried over to the start. Milwaukee fought back with a 10-0 run to close the quarter to take a 27-24 lead. The Bucks looked even calmer in the second period, as the Celtics looked a little tentative and Milwaukee found a 56-46 lead behind 50% shooting from deep. The Bucks looked to be in trouble with Giannis starting with four fouls and three minutes left, but they even managed to extend their lead from that point to hold a 78-70 advantage to start the fourth. That score held and more, as the Milwaukee defense put down Boston and Ime Udoka waved the white flag two minutes from time.
Giannis has embraced the playmaking route. In the first half, when he was struggling to force his way under the rim (only 4-13), he took advantage of his isolations against the Celtics’ biggest defenders and managed to break down the defense and his shooters paid him. He made a number of sterling assists and reduced turnovers after the start of the game. As he struggled broadly on the pitch, just 9-25 from the field, he took advantage of the lags and found his teammates when needed. Also, credit goes to Mike Budenholzer who put it on track for at least 42 minutes if it wasn’t for his foul issues and the Bucks won it with at least two minutes to go.
Milwaukee flipped the revenue story. The Bucks started this game with seven turnovers, giving the Celtics plenty of blows and generally looking unable to protect the ball properly. That’s what made the late development of this game so impressive, as they ended with just 14 to Boston’s 18. More importantly, they scored 27 points on Boston blunders while the Celtics mustered just six. What a work of the team for the last quarters of this one.
Jrue Holiday delivered. His impact wasn’t felt too acutely in the first half, but he asserted himself in the second half as he rammed into Boston’s defenders and forced his way to the edge. Defensively he was able to get in front of Boston throughout the second half forcing tough turnovers and shots but the hardest thing for Celtics fans is I didn’t even think he was at its best that way. Nailing him 3-5 from deep was critical, and sneakily important was his 6-6 from the line, including some late keys.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Milwaukee opened with Giannis guarding Jaylen Brown, Wes Matthews on Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday on Marcus Smart.
- It was a nice start to watch Jrue Holiday see his first two triples fall.
- Grayson Allen was the first substitute to come off the bench for Jrue Holiday and was paired with Marcus Smart to start.
- After Jaylen Brown landed a return dunk over the head of Giannis, he showed some truly impressive balance as he brought it to Al Horford at the other end and created an absurd open three for Portis at the top of the arc with a good pass.
- Can you imagine being Jayson Tatum in the first half and passing Brook Lopez in the corner for a drive to the rim, only to see Giannis stretch his massive arms over the rim?
- Bobby Portis made a truly impressive pass in the second quarter, catching the ball with a one-handed slingshot from Giannis and immediately sent it to Pat Connaughton in the corner for a three.
- With a bloodthirsty crowd at TD Garden, Giannis knocking down his first four free throws was an encouraging and soothing development.
- Grayson Allen was quite impressive during his time in this game with a real test against a Playoffs defense, hitting his triples and, more amazingly, getting Robert Williams III off the dribble and hitting a float against him. He also did a great job of digging in without leaving his man on the perimeter too much and forcing a few interceptions. Also, huge credit to him for being an absolute pest defensively with three interceptions too.
- Milwaukee failed to hit a three-pointer in the third quarter (0-8), but still managed to lose the period by just two.
- If you wanted a role-player comparison in this one, there was a perfect example in the fourth quarter when Payton Pritchard clicked an open three after some miscommunication defensively, and at the other end Giannis served Portis in the corner for a whistling triple.
- Maybe that’s the signature Giannis is playing now… him bouncing it off the backboard and slamming it home.
Support our site! | BreakingT | ESPN+ | ESPN+ 30 for 30 | fuboTV | Disney+