Highlights courtesy of MLG Highlights
1. Behind another monster showing from Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo the Milwaukee Bucks survived a furious fourth quarter from the Boston Celtics to knot the series up a two games a piece. The final two of his 27 points came in the form of a game deciding tip in with 5.1 seconds remaining. Freak also added 7 boards and 5 dimes to go with a bevy of big plays including him posterizing Al Horford. As the leader of this team Giannis represents everything that encompasses this group. He’s young, talented, hungry and a little reckless.
We have to show some love to one of the most underrated guys in the game today in Khris Middleton. He’s essentially the ice to Freak’s fire but just as effective. Middleton put on a clinic today with 23 points on 8 of 14 from the field including 3 of 5 from deep, 6 boards with a pair of steals and blocks. His ability to be a consistent second option made this win possible as much as anyone else including Freak.
2. The Bucks also got a sorely needed big game from Jabari Parker. After Game 2 with the Bucks dropping both meetings and the series heading to Milwaukee Parker aired his frustrations with his lack of playing time. Today he proved why the Bucks may want to give him a little more run. Off the bench Parker poured in 16 points on 50% shooting with 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and a pair of steals.
Although not boxscore pretty the Bucks backcourt did a solid job. Malcolm Brogdon had an efficient 10 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists. Eric Bledsoe put up 9 points with 5 assists and two blocks. Hell, even Matthew Dellavedova got into the action with a 4-3-4 line including a steal. As far as controlling the paint Thon Maker threw another block party capitalizing on his 5 block effort on Friday night with another 5 swats to go with his 8 points.
3. They made much more of a game out of this one but the road woes continue for the Celtics. Where the Cs were flat for the complete game on Friday they just waited until the second half to turn it on today but the damage had been done. Too little, too late. To their credit they outscored the Bucks by 14 in the final half and regained some of the swagger that shot them out to a 2-0 series lead. Jaylen Brown led the ultimately unfruitful endeavor with arguably his best showing to date. Brown rocked the Bucks for 34 points on a hot 13 of 24 shooting with 5 of 8 from three to go with 8 boards and 3 steals.
While Brown was pretty consistent all game Jayson Tatum marked the turning point of the game for Boston. Tatum scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half providing the spark for their comeback. Aron Baynes didn’t do too bad here almost nabbing a double double with 9 and 11 in 19 minutes. However, once Giannis moves to the five he’s much more of a liability.
After that there’s nothing but a bunch of spots that could have been a lot better. Al Horford notched 13-9-4 with two blocks. Not bad but a bit less than Boston needs with the absence of Kyrie Irving. Okay, I may be picking nits here but one thing’s for sure Marcus Morris could’ve been a lot better. His 13 points on 4 of 14 from the field and issues with foul trouble (from having to keep up with Giannis no doubt) really kept Morris from being the thorn in Milwaukee’s side he was in the first two games. Terry Rozier III did a fine job facilitating this afternoon with eight assists against only one turnover however he straight up stunk it up shooting. Rozier sputtered to 10 points on 3 of 12 including 2 of 10 from beyond the arc. This is pretty telling because when Rozier is putting the ball in the hoop the Cs are damn near impossible to beat.
Although they have a strong veteran presence the Celtics as constructed now are very young and these past two games proved as much. They’re going back home now where they are markedly better with hopes that they have a short memory and can take back control of the series. However, these two games have officially put them on notice and provided plenty of reasons to fear the deer.