After Game 1’s crushing overtime loss, the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a different kind of crushing loss tonight to the Boston Celtics. Dropping Game 2, 120-106, now means that the Bucks face the daunting task of having to climb out of a 2-0 series hole.
The first half story was the same as the Game 1 story for the Bucks: they committed a lot of turnovers (10) while surrendering a lot of second chance points to the Celtics (18 points on eight offensive rebounds). Despite converting on 62 percent of their shots and holding Boston to 49 percent from the field, Milwaukee went into the halftime break down 60-51.
The second half featured much of the same as the first half with the Celtics frustrating the Bucks into tough shots, while they themselves converted on tough shots. The third quarter ended on a Shane Larkin buzzer-beating three that came from a Brad Stevens whiteboard play with 3.5 seconds left. The shot was the perfect transition into a fourth quarter that felt like a formality as the Bucks were never able to put together a serious run.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished the night with 30 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. He came out hot in the opening quarter as he connected on all four of his field goal attempts and tallied 10 points in the first frame. The second quarter was just as kind to Giannis as he scored eight more points on 4-5 shooting from the floor and linked up with Shabazz Muhammad as the duo sparked a late 10-0 run.
Antetokounmpo’s first bucket of the second half was one of the more aesthetically pleasing jumpers he has taken this season:
Giannis with the yank and fade.#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/OahcvXu7hT— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 18, 2018
From that point on there was not much that Giannis was able to do in terms of taking over the game offensively. The Celtics put big bodies up on him and those big bodies stayed in front of him as Giannis drove to the basket.
After scoring 31 points on 20 shots in Game 1, it took Khris Middleton until his tenth minute of action (6:17 left in the second quarter) to take his first shot of the game. It found the bottom of the net and Middleton made nine more shots to finish the night with 25 points. The Eric Bledsoe and Tony Snell back court did not yield positive results for the second consecutive game. The two combined for 14 points (12 for Bledsoe, two for Snell) on 6-16 shooting from the field while Bledsoe managed to knock down a pair of three-pointers.
Al Horford was a steady veteran presence for Boston throughout the night as the All-Star set the tone early and finished with 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier were the best back court duo tonight as the pair finished with a combined 53 points (30 for Brown, 23 for Rozier) on 20-36 shooting, including 8-17 from three. Marcus Morris provided a scoring spark off the bench for Boston as the Bucks were making things interesting late in the first half. Morris finished with 18 points and knocked down two three-pointers late in the first half that negated a 10-0 Milwaukee run.
Stat That Stood Out
5 - The Celtics only turned the ball over five times. Conversely, the Bucks ended their possessions prematurely 15 times. The Celtics taking advantage of the extra possessions while simultaneously denying the Bucks extra possessions, enabled Boston to hold onto the 11 point advantage that they built after the first quarter.
There have only been 19 instances of teams winning a playoff series after losing the first two games of the series. Everyone is counting on, and trusting, that the Bucks will not make it 20. Of course, we all know that you can never trust the Bucks and maybe that phrase will work in the reverse way for the rest of the series.