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Milwaukee vs. Boston: Bucks Sneak Past Celtics, 98-97

Bucks take season series from the Celtics

NBA: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Well, there it was crystal clear that this was the first game following the All-Star break. Both teams started absolutely ice cold from the floor, culminating in a very boring first quarter of play. Things would eventually heat up for both teams as they both emerged from their initial slumps, but overall — a very rusty opening 12 minutes. Despite Milwaukee’s seven turnovers, they only found themselves down 22-20.

The Bucks would make up lost ground in the second period play. Some splashes from Khris Middleton would help the rest of the squad get back into a groove, and Milwaukee would surge into a 53-47 halftime lead.

Milwaukee would plummet into another shooting drought coming out of halftime. I’m not sure of the exact number, but at one point, I think they were at a 1-of-10 clip to start the third quarter. It wasn’t pretty.

The contest would tighten up in the fourth quarter. Both teams would finally realize that they boasted professional basketball players, and it showed by the shots that everyone one was hitting. Boston would hit a three, then Milwaukee would counter — and vice versa. Eventually, it’d come down to a very confusing ruling regarding a shot clock violation. I’ll talk about this more down below, but it’d end up giving Boston the ball on the sidelines with a little more than three seconds left. Thankfully, Kyrie was unable to convert, and Milwaukee clung on for the massive victory.

Milwaukee’s All-Star Captain Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the leading force in this one, concluding his evening with a 30 point, 13 board, and six assist performance. Ho-hum, just another night at the office for him. Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton would each pour in 15 points of their own.

For Boston, Kyrie Irving would be the leader in the points column with 22. Bucks killer Al Horford contributed with 21, and Jayson Tatum mixed in 17 of his own.

Three Observations

Even as I’m typing this up the following morning, I’m still confused as to what transpired on that shot clock violation.

Rather than me just trying to sum it up, let’s just let Mike Callahan, the ref involved, explain his reasoning:

Interesting stuff. Here’s what Mike Budenholzer had to say about the series of events:

It was definitely interesting to see Bud approaching this. You could tell he was pissed and that he didn’t want to cross any line in the sand where he might get fined. Regardless, thank goodness Irving missed that shot — because otherwise we’d all be more mad, as would the Bucks.

Nikola Mirotic is going to be pretty, pretty fun to watch in a Bucks uniform.

In his 14 minutes of play, we got exactly what we were hoping to see with Mirotic. He knocked down a pair of threes and came mighty close on a few others. Those shots may fall too once he gets into more of a groove. Regardless, the Bucks offense flowed magnificently with him out on the court. If only he hit that shot after the Giannis block...although, it may have been a good thing for Fiserv Forum’s foundation. The thing about Mirotic that goes under the radar of a lot of pundits is his quality level of defense. That was something he joked about in his postgame presser, as he asked the media if we knew he could play defense as well as shooting. If he contributes heavily on both sides of the ball, this experiment is going to be very fun.

Put that Giannis block on loop for eternity.

Honestly, do you know what I need with this? I need it to be slowed down and for David Attenborough to be narrating. Because this wasn’t footage of an NBA game...this was footage from Planet Earth — a lion hunting down a gazelle:

Pump this into my veins. I had zero doubt that he wouldn’t be able to swat it. I mean, how many times have we’ve seen this from the Greek Freak? It’s become routine by now. It also adds even more evidence to not just Giannis’ MVP case, but his case for DPOY as well. Who else have we seen this level of aggressiveness on the run-from-behind blocked shots from besides LeBron?

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • The All-Star break drought isn’t true in just baseball! Both teams were dragging their feet to start this one — and boy, was it ugly. As I said in my recaps, they’d eventually find their footing, but it took a while. Despite its ugliness, this was one more win for the Bucks.
  • ALL-STAR KHRIS MIDDLETON LOOKING FOR BLOOD! Holy cow, that dunk attempt on Theis! We haven’t seen anything like that from him since that slam on Jimmy Butler a few years ago during the preseason. That confidence is really flowing from K-Midd following the All-Star Game, and I LOVE IT.
  • Al Horford continues to terrorize the Bucks. I told Kane Pitman that whenever you doubt him for one second, he immediately makes it up. Sometimes, he just looks like a clumsy oaf. Then he does something so athletic that it looks like he’s back at Florida tearing it up with Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer. Honestly, the Celtics may be the team I’m worried the most about in the playoffs — especially if Horford continues having his way with Milwaukee.
  • Due to Mirotic, we didn’t get to see any DJ Wilson minutes last night. It’ll be interesting to see how Bud monitors that moving forward.
  • Let’s end this extended recap with this screenshot: