Even without Khris Middleton, the Bucks confirmed they should be considered in the title defense. Monstrous in defense and physically dominant, Giannis Antetkounmpo’s teammates won 101-89 at TD Garden. After a “hurray basket” start to the game, the Bucks got their hands on the game for their accuracy and circle protection. The Celtics can’t get close to the basket and only score in transition. Milwaukee loses many balls and after five minutes the score is even (10-10).
The first changes turn to the advantage of the Celtics who offer a mini-break (18-12) but Milwaukee does not panic. While a huge Jaylen Brown touch on Giannis blows up the room, Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis place two new triples and Ime Udoka is forced to stop the game (24-22). Behind, Jevon Carter even gives the advantage to the Bucks (25-24). Clumsy, Giannis turns into a passerby and Milwaukee signs the 10-0 to close the first quarter (27-24).
Brook Lopez as a sentry
Payton Pritchard stops the bleeding (27-27) and Boston survives with the offensive rebound. The two defenses are very high and access to the circle is complicated. Jayson Tatum unlocks his counter, Jaylen Brown is still suffering and Giannis continues to play on the others (39-34). Matthews takes the nail from 3 to five minutes from half time (42-34). The patience of the Bucks is rewarded. Tatum and Brown wake up and Horford puts in a 3-point layer to return to -2 (45-43). But Grayson Allen hurts a lot and the Bucks’ sweeping 2-1-2 defense traps the Celtics. Worse still, Marcus Smart is out with an injury and the Bucks take the opportunity to take off to reach a 10-point lead in the interval (56-46). At half-time, the Celtics only scored six 2-pointers. It is their lowest total of the season.
Back from the locker room, Lopez covers Williams, and Portis scores behind: +12. The game is increasingly hanging. Lots of contacts, torn arms and Tatum (finally) catches fire (58-52). But Holiday plants a triple, then steals the ball… and continues Portis (64-54). There is less control in the Bucks, but Boston does not take advantage of it. The defenses took over with the counterattacks of Williams, Giannis and Lopez. Equally difficult is still going to the circle, on both sides (74-66). Boston does not even benefit from Giannis’ exit and Holiday takes care of the defense attack (78-70).
In the end it was Bobby Portis who eliminated the Celtics with a triple from the corner (87-72). With nine minutes left, Boston lacks solutions and aggression towards the circle, like a transparent Brown. It is still Holiday who kills the game: interception then triple: 17 points ahead, and Brad Stevens is already leaving his pits. Behind, Giannis performs a “T-Mac” then provokes a power shift. To make matters worse, Tatum sends an airball. The end of the game is interest free and the Bucks win by 12 points, leaving the Celtics under 90 points!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Marcus Smart injured. Within minutes of half-time, Marcus Smart injured his shoulder and thigh. We thought it was a shoulder dislocation. He came back in the second half but he was clearly down and the Bucks allowed him to shoot from long range. It was when he returned to the bench that Milwaukee definitely took the break.
– Bobby Portis remains in office. Mike Budenholzer continues to trust Portis in the starting lineup. It should be noted that Grayson Allen was the first to come off the bench and was supposed to replace Jrue Holiday.
– A real battle. We have rarely seen so many players on the pitch since the start of the playoffs and the referees have let a lot play. The Celtics had erected a wall and Giannis Antetokounmpo repeatedly knocked Robert Williams or Marcus Smart to the ground. There were crutches, kicks in the lower abdomen. But everyone stood up and there was a good spirit throughout the match.
– Ime Udoka knows defeat. Newcomer coach Ime Udoka will not match Steve Kerr and Tyronn Lue who started their playoff careers with five straight wins. They were then NBA champions …
TOP / FLOPS
✅Brook Lopez. The racket boss for 48 minutes. Robert Williams can’t shoot from long range and Lopez was able to defend himself on the cover. He dominated on rebounds and blocks. A match “a la Marc Gasol”.
✅Jrue holidays. As good in defense as in attack, he was the most consistent in attack. A physical monster who does not hesitate to challenge the greats of Boston, or to throw himself on all the balloons.
✅⛔Giannis Antetokounmpo. A lot of waste as MVP of the 2021 Finals with free throws and wrong lay-ups. But his serenity is contagious, as is his altruism. He played against the others and is rewarded with a 2nd career triple double in the playoffs. The “T-Mac” of him is the action of the game.
✅Al Horford. Difficult to get a player out of the Celtics lot but Al Horford was the smoothest and most effective defensive player over Giannis.
✅⛔Jayson Tatum. Not a great performance from him with this bad 6 out of 18 shooting, but he kept the hope at the start of the 2nd half. More aggressive than Brown, he also participated more in the game.
⛔Jaylen Brown. Like Jayson Tatum, he missed his first half. The problem is that he couldn’t raise his head, and it was catastrophic from afar and up close.
Game 2 in Boston on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday (1:00 am)