The Boston Celtics who lost their first game of this postseason in Game 1 of this series (101-89) to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday afternoon, came out like a team desperate not to go down 0-2 heading back to Milwaukee. They jumped all over the Bucks and never looked back.
They defeated the Bucks 109-86 on Tuesday night tying the series at one game apiece.
They jumped all over the champs, and never looked back. They led by as many as 26 and never trailed.
The Celtics didn’t shoot the ball well in Game 1. They made 18 3-pt’s out of 50 attempts, in Game 2 they shot 20-43 from deep. They have taken 93 shots from deep and only 71 2-pt attempts. The Bucks struggled from deep and the Celtics took full advantage as they were a +51 from 3-pt as Milwaukee only made three of their 18 attempts.
The Celtics rode the shoulders early of Jaylen Brown who struggled from the field in Game 1 just 4-13 with 12 points. He started Game 2 9-10 from the field and made all five of his 3-pt attempts in the first half scoring 25 points (played the entire 1st quarter). He struggled in the second half (2-8 FG) but he still finished with a game-high 30 points. Early in the game he also had a crossover on Bucks guard Grayson Allen that really got the crowd going.
He spoke about his mentality and approach to Game 2.
“We couldn’t let that one game define our season, we’ve been resilient all year.” Brown said. playoffs is all about how you respond. So Game 1 we got hit in the mouth, and we came back and threw the first punch tonight.”
All-Star Jayson Tatum scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half and made 5-10 from deep. He also had a game-high eight assist.
The unsung hero for Boston was third year forward Grant Williams who contributed big off the bench outscoring the entire Bucks bench by himself. He had 21 points but his biggest contribution was the overall defense he played on the reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo the entire game. His teammates even made sure to talk about the job he did on defending Milwaukee’s best player.
“Grant gets his lifts in. So we definitely want to lean on him(Grant) more.”
Veteran Al Horford had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and big man Robert Williams had 10 points. Starting point guard and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart sat out of this game due to a right thigh contusion.
“We wanted to match their physicality and punch back tonight,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “A big message was show them who we are.”
Milwaukee didn’t give themselves much of a fighting chance with all the turnovers early in the game (7 in the 2nd) and never got any closer than 13 points in the second half.
The Celtics did a fantastic job on Giannis in the first half.
He started the game missing his first six shots and was 2-12 FG. He picked his play up in the second half, but by that time it was already too late. He finished with 28 points but was just 11-27 from the field and he missed four straight free throws at one point.
Antetokounmpo said in the post-game the Celtics are doing a lot to make it tough for him to attack like he’s accustomed to. “Strong bodies, being active, being physical —- that’s pretty much it,” he said. “It’s gotten tougher to find your teammates.”
Without second leading scorer and All-Star Khris Middleton who missed his 5th straight playoff game due to a sprained MCL, head coach Mike Budenholzer had to lean on others to help pick up the slack. He did not get a lot from the others. Point guard Jrue Holiday had 19 points but was just 7-20 from the field. Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton each scored 13 points.
The Bucks dominated the paint 54-24, but still wasn’t enough.
Game 3: Saturday 5/7 on ABC
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