After a successful four-game win over the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics came back down to earth in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. put a punch to the Celtics, defeating them at TD Garden, 101-89.
Boston attempted 50 threes, a statistic Antetokounmpo found amusing, and made 18 of them. At the same time, they only attempted 34 shots inside the three-point arc and converted 10 of them. Milwaukee’s central defense consistently held off the Celtics’ paint attack in Game 1.
And although the Celtics were able to keep Antetokounmpo on 9 of 25 shots in the game, largely thanks to the big man Al Horford, their offense fell to a lackluster performance. That ultimately cost her the win.
At the forefront of the offensive struggles were the two Boston stars. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown didn’t play to their usual standards and during his post-match press conference, head coach Ime Udoka had some strong words for the duo.
After the game, Udoka spoke to the media about Boston’s performance. When discussing Tatum and Brown’s performances, the Celtics head coach was blunt. He said they had to get better. End of the story:
In Game 1, Tatum played 39-45, recording 21 points, six rebounds and six assists. The young superstar shot 6/18 from the field and 4/9 from behind the three-point line. Tatum didn’t really get going until the second half, however, as he only shot 3 of 10 in the first two quarters.
Meanwhile, Brown struggled even more than his co-star. In 38:00 of the game, Brown had just 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists while shooting 4-of-13 from the field and 3-of-9 from behind the arc. However, Brown’s biggest problem was the seven turnovers he made.
Those performances were big steps up from the pair’s game against the Nets in Round 1 and if the Celtics are to defeat the reigning champions their stars will need to get back to how they played in Round 1.
The Celtics defeated the Nets in four games in Round 1, but all were very close games. In fact, the Celtics won the series by just 18 points cumulatively. One of the main reasons they were able to finish the tight games was the great play of their stars.
Tatum burned in the first round. In the four games, he averaged 29.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from deep. He also took on the huge task of guarding Kevin Durant, effectively knocking him out.
As for Brown, even though his three-point shot counts weren’t as great, he still played well against the Nets. He averaged 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 21.1 percent from distance in Round 1.
Boston’s second-round chances depend on whether their two stars can return to the level of basketball we’ve come to expect from them. Once they do, the Celtics should be right back at it.