Things started well for the Bucks against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday tonight, as they hopped out to an 8-0 lead and led by a 20-9 margin midway through the first quarter. Alas, the game's final 41 minutes were far less kind, as the Bucks were outscored 90-63, falling to the Celtics 99-83.
In the first quarter, Greg Monroe looked nearly unstoppable on the block, putting up 10 points and six rebounds. The Celtics just didn't seem to have an answer for Monroe on the block. But after Giannis Antetokounmpo picked up his second foul with 5:24 left in the first quarter, things slowly started to unravel for the Bucks. The bench could not handle the lead and the teams were tied at 24 after one quarter.
"The plus-minuses just tell the story of our bench, our subs. They come in and they can't maintain nor build on (a lead)," said coach Jason Kidd of the Bucks' bench post-game.
The second quarter was not much better for the Bucks as Kidd was forced to pull four bench players and bring back his other four starters to join Middleton after the Bucks' bench unit allowed the Celtics to take a 35-27 lead just four minutes into the quarter. The Bucks' starters were able to close the gap a bit and head into the second half trailing Boston 46-42.
When asked of his concerns with the bench, Kidd responded, "I'm concerned about everyone. It's not just the bench or the starters. I'm concerned about everyone that puts on a uniform."
The Bucks were able to play the Celtics close to even for the first 8 minutes of the second half, with a Johnny O'Bryantfree throw pulling the Bucks to within one at 58-57 with 4:16 left. But the Celtics responded with an 18-2 run to end the third quarter and the Bucks just seemed lost the rest of the way, ultimately losing 99-83. Monroe ultimately led the Bucks in points (17), rebound (14), and assists (4).
The Bucks suffered a number of lapses in the second half and seemed to lose any semblance of discipline or composure as things started to get tougher for them in the third quarter.
"We need to be patient. We aren't as good as we think we are," said Kidd. "We have to continue to keep working and we have to find that hunger."
The Celtics really hurt the Bucks on the offensive glass tonight, corralling 14 offensive rebounds and seemingly outworking the Bucks throughout the game. It was just another thing Coach Kidd didn't seem all to pleased with during his post-game press conference.
"I think it's about right. It's what we do," Kidd said of his team's offensive rebounding struggles. "We give up offensive rebounds. We're 30th in rebounding. I think we're on course to not move out of the 30th spot."
With Kidd seemingly quite upset with the team's performance Tuesday night, it might be for the best that the Bucks will have a chance to put this game behind them with a game against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday. Tipoff in the Mile High City is scheduled for 8 p.m. CST.
- Bucks started on an 8-0 run in the first three minutes. The Celtics only managed two shots in that time.
- Antetokounmpo picked up two early fouls. Strangely enough, Damien Inglis entered for him in the first quarter. Antetokounmpo also picked up his third foul after just a minute of second quarter action. 3 fouls in 8 minutes.
- Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez will hunt out any and all open jumpers in transition. Most of the time they are catch-and-shoot threes. (Some will like this, others will not.)
- Parker was regularly able to front Amir Johnson. Not sure if that says more about Parker's effort or Johnson's inability to get post position.
- Jerebko entered with 4:16 left in third quarter to create a super small frontcourt combo of Jerebko and Kelly Olynyk. He hit a three shortly after. Kidd pulled Monroe at the next stoppage with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter. When asked about going small in the post-game press conference, Kidd said, "Well, we can go small, if you consider Giannis small. We can play him at the 5. We've done that before and it was something for us to look at going forward. If John (Henson) is having a tough night, being able to go with Giannis, especially with him not playing a lot of minutes in the first half, was something for us to look at."
- The Celtics shot 30 threes Tuesday night, but made only seven of them.
- Second quarter starters: Bayless, Copeland, Vasquez, Henson, Inglis
- After the game, Jabari Parker said that he would probably not play tomorrow night in Denver. On the bright side, Parker had his best game since returning from his long injury layoff, grabbing eight rebounds and picking up a couple of steals in addition to hitting 4/6 shots from the field.
- I disagree with the assertion by many that the Bucks looked good early in this game. Instead, I would suggest that the Celtics looked terrible. I know this is hair-splitting, but it is important. Other than Monroe posting up overmatched bigs, there was little, in the first six minutes that could be used as a sustainable model of success going forward.
- I will continue to be puzzled by the derision of Jerryd Bayless. Is he the league's best player? Obviously not. Is he more than serviceable as a third or fourth guard? Yes.
- Kidd has mentioned this in post-game press conferences before, but when the Bucks are trailing in the second half and things start to go poorly, they start to look for the "ten point play." This became quite obvious near the end of the third quarter, but it was true even earlier than that. They aren't quite mature enough yet to deal with adversity and trust the system to get them back in the game.
- When Greg Monroe is on the floor, the Bucks offense is dictated by Monroe. This might seem like a good thing, but ultimately has been a bit of a problem for the Bucks this season. Monroe has racked up assists, which would make one think that he is throwing a lot of assists from the elbow and the offense looks great with him on the floor. That is not the case. Often, the Bucks' offense will turn into five individuals trying to make their own play rather than five players working together to get an easy basket. When this doesn't work for a few possessions, the individual players begin to press and things can get ugly.
- Coach Kidd was angry about his team's performance Tuesday night. No one was excluded from his post-game comments.