What looked like a laughable matchup on paper proved amazingly close throughout the majority of the contest, as Milwaukee’s backups put up a solid effort against Boston before collapsing late in the fourth quarter to lose 112-94.
That final tally isn’t necessarily indicative of the contest overall though, as Boston was plus-16 in the fourth quarter and feasted on the defensive lineup out of Bucks fans’ nightmares. Instead, tonight should better be remembered for several strong Thon blocks, Rashad Vaughn playing briefly like someone got him with the defibrillator pregame and Spencer Hawes twirling in several more circus shots.
Hawes and Michael Beasley led Milwaukee with 15 points each, with Beasley adding three steals and two blocks too. Thon Maker looked solid despite playing power forward, tallying nine points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Malcolm Brogdon had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists and Rashad Vaughn ended with 14 points on 6-15 shooting.
Gerald Green led Boston with 18, Amir Johnson had 16 and so did Jae Crowder. Milwaukee stayed in this game with some hot shooting initially, but Boston started raining threes late and scored twice as many points off turnovers as Milwaukee did.
The Beazus experience got off to a predictable start, as he hit two runners while gliding to the lane before stealing an errant Celtics pass and splashing in a three for a 15-11 Bucks’ lead. Thon Maker followed those up with two gentle slam dunks over Celtics’ defenders, and he led the Bucks in scoring with nine after one. Some Moose bullying, Vaughn shooting and a Telly buzzer-beater closed the quarter out as Milwaukee surprisingly led 36-25.
Milwaukee found their way to a 41-31 lead before the Celtics maneuvered back to a four-point game. Malcolm Brogdon cleaned up his own missed shot and slammed it home to re-extend the Bucks’ lead. Then, Spencer Hawes went on a personal 7-0 run, wrangling points against Celtics’ defenders with Houdini moves like this:
BELIEVE YOUR EYES! pic.twitter.com/jZjOJ47Dxs— Behind the Buck Pass (@BehindTheBucks) April 13, 2017
Unfortunately, the Celtics (basically Isaiah Thomas) finished off the half on a 10-0 run to take a 57-56 narrow lead over the Bucks’ bereft bench squad. Thon and Brogdon led Milwaukee with nine points each, and the trio of Crowder, Horford and Thomas each had 10 for Boston.
The Bucks’ annual block party came early this year, with Rashad Vaughn notching a weakside block and Thon Maker following it up with an outright refusal of a Jae Crowder shot in transition in the third. Boston extended their lead to 72-69 with the quarter winding down, but Thon added the monk moonlighter Kelly Olynyk to his victim list with another chase down block that turned into a Rashad Vaughn three on the other end. Boston still led 80-78 after three.
Spencer Hawes did his best to get Milwaukee going in the fourth with a three and twirling and-one, but Boston went off from deep against a defensively suspect unit with Hawes, Teletovic and Beasley patrolling the frontcourt like a couple of cops asleep at the wheel. Boston pulled away with uncontested dunks and by hitting five of their 12 threes for the night to win 112-94.
- Marques Johnson started the game by saying Michael Beasley ought to get 20 shots easily tonight. Beasley nearly did too despite looking noticeably hobbled for much of the second half, going 7-17 in the game. Additionally, I have to say it was rather strange that Beasley put up so many minutes still while favoring a leg in a game whose sole purpose was to emerge from with a healthy team.
- Rashad Vaughn got an opportunity to face off against a premier defender in Avery Bradley tonight. He took him off the dribble and hit a layup at the rim against him in the first. A few plays later he drove in and led a rolling Henson with a pass for an easy bucket. He continued his impassioned play with a poke-steal against Olynyk in the post and a comfortable jumper over Crowder. What that means is probably nothing, but it was something, and something is more than what Vaughn did most of this year.
- A fourth-quarter addendum to the previous post: Vaughn gambled hard on the perimeter and was roasted like a Planter’s peanut on two backdoor cuts by Avery Bradley. Unsurprisingly, the Payton-Vaughn-Beasley-Teletovic-Hawes unit he was with couldn’t recover to save his butt.
- Thon Maker got off to a hot start tonight hitting a patient shot in the first before cutting to the rim for several strong slam dunk finishes. Interestingly, all of that success came while playing power forward next to either John Henson or Greg Monroe. Maker has rarely played the 4 this year, and while his slender frame seemed more suited to that spot at the moment, the fact Milwaukee played him at center all year is an encouraging sign for the franchise’s understanding of his long-term fit with Giannis.
- Greg Monroe tried a three-pointer tonight, and the hint of disbelief in Gus Johnson’s call was delightful. He tried another to end the third quarter, setting a new career high for three-point attempts in a game with two. Previously, the most he attempted over a full season was four back in 2012-13.
- Milwaukee’s roster has come a long way in just one year. At this time last year, were the Bucks to have sat Giannis, Khris and Jabari, we would’ve been left with the scary squad of Rashad Vaughn, Greg Monroe, Tyler Ennis, Johnny O’Bryant III, Damien Inglis, Greivis Vasquez, Miles Plumlee and John Henson. Actually, that doesn’t feel all that different from this year. Thank goodness for this past draft class.
- Thon Maker’s emphatic ejection of a Crowder’s transition attempt looked eerily similar to Giannis’ stunning block of Brian Roberts in the last Hornets game.
- Despite the studs staying home, tonight’s game was quite enjoyable. A number of shimmies from Spencer Hawes, some posterizing blocks by Thon Maker, competency from Rashad Vaughn, Malcolm Brogdon calmly steering the ship and Michael Beasley just...being Beas. This cast of characters made the game far more watchable than it had any right to be (we’ll just choose to forget that fourth quarter). What a fitting cap to a Bucks season that was anything but predictable. Thanks to all for reading and commenting along all season. Now lets take back the North.