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Milwaukee vs. Boston: Bucks Sink Celtics

Even though the Celtics built an early lead, it never felt like the Bucks lost control of the game.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The resilient Milwaukee Bucks never faltered throughout game three on Friday night at the TD Garden. They weathered the storm when the Boston Celtics built an early 12 point lead, and turned it into a 123-116 victory. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but the Milwaukee Bucks still maintain the upper-hand in the series. Here are three observations from the huge win.

I am naming my first born George Hill.

The way he played off the bench in 29 minutes certainly helped propel the Bucks to victory last night, especially with the performance of Eric Bledsoe. Hill made 9-of-12 shots and 2-of-3 three-pointers to total 21 points. He moved swiftly on the offensive end, staying active and cutting to the basket behind the Celtics defense He also held his own defensively, and forced Kyrie Irving into tough midrange jumpers. Hill’s ascension from the end of the regular season has carried over into the postseason, and he has showcased why trading for him was a steal during that salary-shedding trade.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was fantastic.

He elevated his game when the Bucks needed it most and ended with 32 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and three blocked shots in 39 minutes. He was able to find space to operate against Boston in the half court and got downhill fast. His aggressiveness saw him get to the foul line 22 times (he made 16 of them). He needed only 13 shots to total 32 points...Giannis’ game one performance is in the rearview mirror, and he’s figured out how to successfully attack the C’s defense. Defensively, he was wreaking havoc by deflecting passes and contesting shots at the rim. As in control as he was offensively, I thought he was most impressive on the defensive end.

If the Bucks played the Celtics every game, Khris Middleton would be the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jokes aside, he continued to torture the Celtics in game three. He scored 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting and hit big shots when the Bucks needed him too. He was quiet in the first half, and it would’ve been nice to see him get more looks. He did add four rebounds and five assists but did turn the ball over five times. He was a bit out of control at times with his dribble, but I thought he made up for his errors with his passing. He made a handful of crafty passes along the baseline, and it continues to be an under-appreciated aspect of his game. He’s earned his money and more this postseason.

Bonus Bucks

  • Eric Bledsoe was out of control offensively. The way he played yesterday was frustrating at times, but he did have a nice stretch to help put the Celtics away in the fourth. He ended with only nine points and four assists. The Bucks need him to not press the issue offensively.
  • Pat Connaughton roasted Boston to the tune of 14 points in 28 minutes. He connected on 4-of-9 three-pointers and did an excellent job at contesting shots defensively. This man has a higher vertical jump than Vince Carter.
  • Brook Lopez was quiet again offensively but still finished a team-high plus-10. He only scored seven points, but was rock solid defensively. It’s odd to see him toss up bricks from three-point range, but it has yet to bite the Bucks.
  • Nikola Mirotic scored 13 points in 29 minutes. Starting for the second game in a row, he did his job knocking down three-pointers (3-of-7). He won’t provide much defensively, but I observed a much-improved effort on that end of the floor since game one. He’s gelled in nicely in the starting five thus far.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks ended with a 50.6%/40.5%/66.7% shooting split.
  • The Celtics made 16 three-pointers and 30 free throws...and still lost :O