After the Boston Celtics got an abrupt reminder of who they were dealing with in the Eastern Conference semifinals, instant conclusions on the series were drawn. Nick Wright of FS1 certainly drew one.
Despite having homecourt advantage and a fully healthy squad, the Celtics dropped Game 1 of their series against the Milwaukee Bucks 101-89, prompting Wright to declare the Bucks the “far better team.”
In a May 1 tweet, Wright claimed that the Celtics had been overrated after their four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs given how “comically overrated” the Nets were, too.
It wasn’t the only time that Wright has criticized the Celtics before. On April 21, he took issue with point guard Payton Pritchard. Takes like these will more likely than not annoy Celtics fans, but now it’s up to the team to prove Wright to be wrong.
Stat Favors Boston in Game 2
Losing Game 1 and, by extension, homecourt advantage might not be as cataclysmic as it initially appeared for the Celtics. Given recent NBA history, it seems that they may not have much to worry about when they tipoff May 3 in Boston for Game 2 in the best-of-seven series.
Kevin Pelton of ESPN tweeted a statistic that could be of some comfort to Celtics fans, stating that over the past decade, teams that win Game 1 one on the road, as the Bucks did, haven’t fared as well in Game 2.
Technically, this has no bearing on the Celtics’ chances in Game 2, but it demonstrates that home teams that lose in Game 1 more often than not make the proper adjustments for the next game. The Bucks are a formidable challenge, but, should the Celtics adjust properly, this series could turn into a rock fight.
Still, over the course of a seven-game series, history is not on the Celtics’ side. Teams that are forced to overcome an 0-1 deficit win only 21.9% of the time, according to Land of Basketball. Of the 184 teams to have accomplished the feat, two have done it during this postseason: the Dallas Mavericks, who knocked off the Minnesota Timberwolves 4-2, and the Memphis Grizzlies, who beat the Utah Jazz 4-2.
Celtics Set Near-Playoff Record Low Offensively in Game 1
For Boston to make the necessary adjustments that will tie up the series, they will have to figure out how to get the right shots off against Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their impact on Boston’s shooting was so powerful that the Celtics almost set a playoff record for futility.
Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN tweeted a statistic revealing that the Celtics made the second-fewest two-point field goals in an NBA playoff history with 10, making only one more than the Houston Rockets did in the 2017 postseason.
In that game, the Rockets lost 114-75 to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals, eliminating them from the playoffs.
Boston may have had better luck scoring-wise than that Rockets team did five years ago, but their offense played right into Milwaukee’s hands in Game 1. If the Celtics want to prove Nick Wright wrong, they are going to have to change up their offensive schemes, which will be easier said than done.