After dropping Game One at home, the Boston Celtics responded in a big way with a wire-to-wire 109-86 thumping of the Milwaukee Bucks, evening the series at a game apiece. Jayson Tatum (29 points) and Jaylen Brown (30 points) didn’t let their poor outings on Sunday throw them, converting on 11 of their 20 three-point attempts. Giannis led the Bucks with 28 on 11/27 shooting.
It was evident from the tip that Boston was highly motivated to correct their Game One dud. They opened a 15-3 lead as Milwaukee couldn’t generate good looks and their turnover problems resurfaced. Giannis in particular looked out of sorts, hoisting up several ill-advised jumpers. While they managed to cut it to 8 at one point, Brown nailed a three to go back up double digits, where it would stay for a long time. Entering the second period down 32-21, the Bucks still couldn’t generate any offense while Brown couldn’t miss (9/10 in the first half), heading into the locker room down a whopping 25 points, 65-40.
The third was marginally better and Giannis managed to get the game back within 15 points a few times with an 18-point quarter, and the defense tightened up a bit as the Celtics went cold. Ultimately it wouldn’t matter, because whenever the Bucks even had a chance to cut it to 12 points or so, Boston would hit an open three. Both coaches pulled their starters around the 2-minute mark and the Celtics coasted to an easy 23-point victory.
Stat That Stood Out
For a team that averaged 38.4 three-point shots per game in the regular season, attempting a mere 18 tonight (hitting just 3) was both bizarre and disconcerting. As they are wont to do, the Bucks gave up their typical high volume on the other end (the Celtics hit 20/43). Opponents get hot and Boston did a good job of chasing Milwaukee shooters off the line, but those shooters were far too tentative as well. To get back into the game you have to shoot these, even in tight coverage. No matter how well the Bucks performed in the paint, a 51-point disparity from behind the arc won’t be corrected if you don’t hoist any up.