The Boston Celtics dropped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semis to the Milwaukee Bucks, 101-89. The Celtics ice-cold shooting kept them from making a serious dent into the Bucks’ second-half lead.
Milwaukee’s defensive strategy is both simple and effective. They do their best to limit opposing team’s stars from getting open looks, they clog the paint and cover the corners, then lastly they leave opponents open at the top of the key to bomb away from three. The Bucks executed this perfectly and the Celtics fell right into the trap.
The Celtics attempted 50 threes today while making just 18 of them. They also shot an abysmal 10-for-34 on their two-point attempts.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown struggled to adjust from the weak Nets defense to the physical Bucks defense. They shot a combined 10-for-31 from the field, scored just 33 points combined, and accounted for 10 of the team’s 18 turnovers. Those turnovers led to easy buckets for Milwaukee who scored 27 points off of those 18 turnovers. Comparatively, Boston scored just six points off of 13 Bucks turnovers. That is a pretty big swing for a game decided by 12 points.
The C’s did a great job defensively on Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the best player in the world still found a way to leave a major impact on the game. He finished 24 points on 9-for-24 shooting but made up for his poor shooting with elite playmaking and defense. He was able to dish out 12 assists and found open shooters every time the Boston defense collapsed.
The swarming Celtics defense was great in neutralizing Kevin Durant in the first round, but Giannis can hurt a team in so many more ways than Durant. The C’s will need to rethink their defensive approach for Game 2 otherwise they will get burned all series long by the open shooters.
The Celtics will look to clean up the mistakes as they prepare for Game 2 this Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
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