It’s April 20th, and you know what that means! It means it’s time for your Milwaukee Bucks to light it up against the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs first round.
Not much else is left to say. The Bucks have been stewing since dropping a winnable Game 1 and failing to show up for a miserable Game 2, and the fans have been stewing alongside them. The vast majority of the conversation has not been about Giannis Antetokoumpo and his excellent production, or on Eric Bledsoe’s inexplicable feud with the heretofore unknown Celtics Point Guard, but has focused on Jabari Parker and his unique brand of personal commentary.
Here is Jabari Parker's longest quote from today's media availability: pic.twitter.com/jxt6RbXjpi— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) April 19, 2018
We covered Parker’s comments here, and Madtown Hoops penned a response here, but at this point it comes down to one thing, which happens to be what Parker’s teammate (and central Bucks figure) Giannis said yesterday during the same media session:
Here's a particularly interesting segment of today's media session with Giannis Antetokounmpo when he was asked about Jabari Parker's frustrations with playing time: pic.twitter.com/Gj3L2Gxpvm— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) April 19, 2018
These are the playoffs. We don’t have time. It also appears the Bucks won’t have time for John Henson on the court tonight, who is doubtful with back soreness. It will be curious to see if Prunty turns to Thon Maker for any minutes tonight or works his Center Giannis minutes in any Zeller absences.
Game 3 Injury Update:— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 20, 2018
John Henson - Doubtful (back soreness)
Player to Watch: Malcolm Brogdon
After committing four turnovers in the first half Tuesday night, Coach Prunty seemed to lose favor with Malcolm Brogdon. He tallied just 19 minutes total, not seeing the floor at all in the fourth quarter. Prunty opted for Sterling Brown, a more dogged defender, but a more tentative offensive player. Brogdon’s offensive skills gives Milwaukee another body to assault Boston’s rim defense, but he needs to avoid the careless packed paint passes he attempted last game. He also only got one 3-pointer up as opposed to six in Game One. Milwaukee needs him to be a shot in the arm tonight whenever Giannis sits.
Things are Rozy in Celtics land after going up 2-0 and handily taking down the Bucks in Game Two. Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown soundly outperformed Milwaukee’s backcourt, and Brown in particular showed no hesitation or fear making the Bucks look like a bunch of chumps. His 30 points came on 5/12 shooting from deep, a product of his confidence as the Bucks continue to go under screens rather than go the radical route of switching. Even Shane Larkin made Milwaukee defenders look like they were on skates. Brad Stevens is pulling all the right strings, partially because Prunty seems to be snapping the few that worked for him, but he deftly countered Center Giannis lineups with too much size for Milwaukee to handle. Expect plenty more of the same chess moves tonight and pray that Prunty has something new up his sleeve to mitigate the downpour Boston’s guards are laying on Milwaukee’s defense.
Player to Watch: Terry Rozier
No Kyrie Irving? No Marcus Smart? No problem for Boston, who has enjoyed the mistake-free stylings of Terry Rozier and his 0 turnovers in 78 minutes of play. Rozier has been exceptional at getting to his spots and either hitting shots (50.0% from three) or bending the defense to allow his teammates to have easier lanes to drive to the basket. Eric Bledsoe has been underwhelming in his efforts to slow Rozier down thus far, and it will be crucial for him to come correct tonight for Milwaukee to avoid falling into an 0-3 hole.