By Nick Adamopoulos –
Giannis Anteokounmpo and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks walked off the TD Garden parquet with a 101-89 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their seven-game series. Anteotokoumpo registered his second career playoff triple double with 24 points, 12, assists, and 13 rebounds over 28 minutes. Jaysom Tatum put up 21 points of his own in the loss, while teammate Jaylen Brown struggled from the field with 12 points. Earlier in the week it was reported that Brown was dealing with a hamstring injury; the injury did appear to limit Brown on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. This was the Celtics’ first loss of the postseason.
The Celtics struggled against the Bucks for the entire game on Sunday afternoon. Boston scored 89 points while shooting 33% from the field. For the game, the Celtics managed to score just ten 2-point field goals. In fact, 60% of the shots taken by the Celtics in Game 1 were three-point field goals. It became apparent from the start that the Bucks were going to give the Celtics trouble on the defensive end, as the Bucks disrupted any rhythm that the Celtics had in the game. Recently named Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart struggled throughout the game, managing to score 10 points but suffering a shoulder and quad injury during the game.
Milwaukee capitalized on its defensive effort throughout the game. The Bucks scored 27 points off of 18 Boston turnovers. The Celtics scored just 6 points off 14 Bucks turnovers. That is a 21-point difference in a game Milwaukee won by 12.
The Celtics and Bucks will play Game 2 in Boston on Tuesday evening. Tip off is scheduled for 7pm. For the first time this postseason the Celtics have been hit in the mouth by a more physical team. Can the Celtics bounce back? Can Tatum and the Celtics find a way to limit Anteokounmpo while finding their own rhythm on offense? One thing is certain, the Celtics need to find a way to score within the paint against this Bucks’ defense, or the Celtics might find themselves shooting their way out of these playoffs.