The Bucks would be unable to complete the two-game series sweep vs. the Celtics Friday night, falling 122-114 at Fiserv Forum.
Boston would open things up with a 12-6 run, putting Milwaukee in a hole to start. Add in some turnovers from the Bucks and it didn’t make life any easier for the Bucks. Giannis also continued to not seem right, as he didn’t even record a single point in the opening quarter. After one, the Celtics found themselves holding a 32-26 lead.
It’d continue to be an ugly one for Milwaukee in the second, with missed execution and turnovers continuing to blemish their efforts. Add in the fact that Khris Middleton went back to the locker room for a period time, it didn’t get any better. Despite all of that, the Bucks still found themselves down by only five points at intermission, 60-55.
However, that single digit lead wouldn’t last too long. Boston would continue to use the brilliant play from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to grow their lead to double-digits. Once the deficit became 16 points, Budenholzer was forced to call timeout. That lead would continue to be double-digits throughout the most of the quarter, and Boston would carry a 103-89 lead into the fourth.
Boston would continue to hold command of the lead late into the fourth. The end of the Bucks’ bench (or, as some might call them, the Bucks Twitter All-Stars) surprisingly made it close, but alas, Boston’s lead never really came in direct danger of being taken away. They’d leave Fiserv Forum with a 122-114 victory.
Khris Middleton would lead the way for the Bucks, finishing his night with 19 points. Jrue Holiday was next in line with 17 points, followed by 16 from Giannis. Sam Merrill also had quite the respectable outing, tapping in with 15 points.
Jayson Tatum would explode for the Celtics, finishing with a game-high 34 points. Marcus Smart (23 points) and Kemba Walker (21 points) both finished above the 20 point plateau.
What Did We Learn?
Right from the get go, it appeared that Giannis was off. This continues to stem from the knee soreness that sidelined him earlier this week. At points throughout this one, it’d appear that he’d be hobbling, and just wasn’t going as hard as he typically does. However, afterwards, Bud did say that Giannis was fine and health concerns weren’t the reason why he was subbed out. Granted, Giannis could be on crutches and he’d tell you that he’s alright. However, it’ll be interesting to see how Bud approaches things tomorrow night vs. the Knicks.
Have a game, Sam Merrill!
The rookie would have quite the respectable outing, and it didn’t only come in garbage time. This was the second straight night where Merrill saw an extended run, and he’d make the most of it. He’d finish with 15 points on a crafty 6-of-8 shooting, including several 3-pointers. In his postgame presser, Bud tipped his cap to both his offense and defense, praising his ability to develop. Giannis also highlighted just how important these types of games are for players like Merrill and the other youth where they could really get some minutes under their feet. Could Merrill be showing signs of development into a serviceable player for the Bucks? Wouldn’t that be a nice addition.
Donte put together another double-digit performance.
After putting up 17 points in Wednesday’s game (a performance where he matched a career-high five 3-pointers), he’d put forth another double-digit performance last night, totaling 13 points. He has now scored double figures in all but one game since the All-Star break and is in fact averaging double figures (12.9 points to go along with 9.4 rebounds). However, at times, it seemed as if he was going just a little too fast, and looked a little discombobulated. It’ll be intriguing to see how he performs against New York.
Thanasis’ energy is absolutely unmatched.
Is he the most aesthetically pleasing player? No. Is he the most skilled player? No. But by golly, does he bring the energy and effort. He’d hit a shot to end the third quarter and afterword, ran back down the court, frantically waving his arms to get the crowd fired up. He’s always a joy to watch whenever he’s out on the floor, and it’s impossible to say that it doesn’t have an impact on the squad, because it clearly does.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Opening Day is less than a week away folks and I can’t wait. I’m slowly talking myself into the fact that the Brewers will win the Central. Prior to the game, the Bucks had some Brewers announce the starting lineup:
Man, am I looking forward to be at Miller Park next Thursday (Yes, I’m still calling it Miller Park). I have the Pfizer vaccine rolling through my body and have officially taken off work for the day. It’ll be weird without tailgating, but it’ll still be great to be back at Miller Park for the first time in 560 days.
- Slam Merrill? SLAM MERRILL.
- Brook Lopez’s season-long double-figure scoring streak came to an end after 12 games. He’d finish with just six points on the evening.
- It was clear that the Bucks missed Bobby Portis, who was ruled out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. This is obviously frustrating for the Bucks, as they just recently got Jrue Holiday back from a hiatus. It’ll be intriguing to see how Milwaukee handles Portis’ absence in the games ahead.
- Late in the fourth quarter in garbage time, we were treated to the Bucks Twitter lineup: Sam Merrill / Jordan Nwora / Mamadi Diakite / Thanasis Antetokounmpo / Axel Toupane.
- Okay, is it just me, or is anybody else sick of the Fear the Deer court? I just cannot stand the circle logo. I’m not a fan of circle logos in any sport, so my hope is that they eventually feature the state logo at center-court.