The most intense matchup in round 2 of the Playoffs is between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. They are at a standstill as they each have a win with 1-1. With homecourt advantage, the Bucks aim to win the game and control the momentum of the series. The Celtics are of a similar mindset as well. As both teams are the top defensive teams in the league, the excitement in the series was no less than that of a Finals matchup.
The Milwaukee Bucks went with their starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, Wesley Matthews, Grayson Allen, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. The Boston Celtics started with Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams III.
With the opening tip, sparks already started firing in the arena as they went head to head with one another. The Celtics opened the scoring but the Bucks were quick to follow as well. It was apparent that both teams had no intention of giving their opponent even an inch to spare. Their defense were at the top of their game allowing no room for scoring.
The Bucks were dependent on Giannis to carry their offense and he was doing that. The Celtics were distributing the ball allowing everyone to get touches. But they were not being able to finish their plays. In the 2nd quarter, the Bucks defense was concentrated in the perimeter so the Celtics took care of the inside.
The Bucks were doing all they can on the offensive end but they were missing a lot of possessions. Giannis was the only one who was making smart choices on his shot selection and he was unstoppable near the rim. But the Boston Celtics secured the lead to end the 1st half with a score of 50-46.
Once the 3rd quarter started, the Milwaukee Bucks were rampant on the offensive end. Led by their duo of Giannis and Holiday, the Bucks were adding on their lead and widening the margin. With the Bucks defense heavily guarding the perimeter, the Celtics were unable to make their 3 pointers. Their star Jayson Tatum was unable to do anything after he was taken down by Giannis in a fastbreak.
The Celtics started fighting back in the 4th quarter thanks to Horford and Brown stepping up. The Bucks could not stop their attack well. Giannis took it upon himself to score the points his team needs and he was delivering.
Less than 20 second remaining in the clock and the Bucks were up by 1, Jrue Holiday took the ball and made a scoop shoot to extend the lead to 3 points. The Celtics came up with an attempted alley-oop on top for Al Horford. He made the shot but time had already ran out.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished the game with a monster double-double performance of 42 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Jrue Holiday supported him with 25 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block. Brook Lopez had a decent game with a double-double of 13 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
For the Celtics, Jaylen Brown led the team in scoring with a double-double of 27 point, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. Al Horford supported him with a double-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Jayson Tatum had an abysmal game as he put up only 10 points, a rebound, 3 assists, a steal and 4 blocks.
Takeaways from Game 3
The Milwaukee Bucks bagged Game 3 thanks to Giannis’ performance as they won with a scoreline of 103-101. They have now taken the lead in the series with 2-1. Having the next game in their home as well, the Bucks will look to extend the lead to 3-1 with their momentum.
The Celtics need to focus on their defensive end more. They know that Giannis is unstoppable but they should be able to contain the rest of the players. On top of that Jayson Tatum cannot afford to perform as bad as he did, something all of us are aware of including Tatum.