The Boston Celtics were dismantled in their Game 1 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown struggled during the 101-89 loss to Milwaukee. Boston will have a chance to bounce back on Tuesday in Game 2, but until then, this loss will sit with them.
Defensively, things went relatively according to plan. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo shot only 9-of-25 from the field, but he was able to carve up the Celtics with his passing. Antetokounmpo finished with a 24-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist triple-double in the Milwaukee win.
Meanwhile, Tatum and Brown combined to shoot 10-of-31 from the field, including 3-of-13 on two-point attempts. That being said, the entire team struggled from two-point range. The Celtics attempted 50 threes in the game and only 34 twos. They shot 10-of-34 on the shots inside the three-point arc.
Once the Bucks took the lead early in the second quarter, they held it for the remainder of the contest. Boston’s offense just couldn’t compete with Milwaukee’s firm interior defense. And midway through the fourth quarter, Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens, used one swift action to sum up his feelings on the game.
Stevens’ Reaction to Celtics Loss
With 7:38 remaining in the game, after Jrue Holiday sank a mid-range shot to put the Bucks up by 17, Stevens exited his suite at TD Garden. The TV cameras caught him quickly saying his goodbyes and leaving.
Holiday’s shot came just one play after Al Horford turned the ball over, which marked one of Boston’s 18 turnovers on the day. Per Steve Bulpett, Milwaukee scored 27 points off of those 18 turnovers, while the Celtics were only able to score six points off of the Bucks’ 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the period when Stevens called it quits, Boston turned the ball over four times. They only managed to muster up 19 points in the final frame, shooting 35.3 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from deep. Clearly, Stevens wasn’t a fan of what he was watching. The Celtics looked like a completely different team than the one that just swept the Brooklyn Nets.
Celtics’ Performance in Game 1
During their series against the Nets, Boston’s stars shined bright when it mattered most. In Round 1, Tatum averaged 29.5 points and Brown put up 22.5. In Game 1 against the Bucks, they combined to score 33, and they did it on inefficient shooting splits. Plus, the defensive gameplan they used against Kevin Durant didn’t quite work against Antetokounmpo.
Similar to the way they defended Durant, the Celtics threw a bunch of double-teams at Antetokounmpo. However, unlike Durant, Antetokounmpo found a way to work around Boston’s plan. Every time the Celtics sent pressure his way, he was able to find the open man, and his teammates flourished because of that.
Antetokounmpo was able to find shooters on the perimeter for open looks when Boston double-teamed him. Grayson Allen finished the game with 11 points, shooting 3-for-6 from deep, and Pat Connaughton had 10 points, shooting 2-of-4 from deep.
The Celtics’ defense wasn’t perfect, but it was their inefficient offense that cost them the game. As mentioned, they shot terribly inside the arc, and Milwaukee’s defense was a big part of that. If they want to bounce back in Game 2, and keep Stevens in his seat, they’re going to have to make some big-time adjustments.