Boston, MA - The Boston Celtics played smart enough to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, but unfortunately they did not play well enough as the Eastern Conference heavyweights advanced to 22-9 over the middling Celtics, who have now dropped their third game in a row, a skid that comes after their impressive eight game winning streak.
That win streak never saw a foe as formidable as the Bucks, though. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have been one of the best teams in the league and Giannis’ high caliber play continued as his one-handed dunk was the play of the night and he torched the Celtics defense for thirty points.
The Bucks defeated the Celtics 120-107 and while the Celtics certainly played the Bucks tighter in the second half of the game, the Bucks’ first quarter lead of 35-22 was simply too much for Boston to overcome in the end and it ended being up the margin of victory for Milwaukee.
As for the Celtics offensive charge, it was mostly led by Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup and Jaylen Brown off the bench as the pair went for twenty and twenty-one points, respectively. The rest of the Celtics lineup was rounded out by Marcus Smart, Kyrie Irving, Semi Ojeleye (interestingly), and Gordon Hayward, who returned to the starting five for the first time in a while. Hayward played decently as he dropped eleven points, but it was Kyrie who stole the show away from him with a balanced line of fifteen points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
Ultimately, though, the Celtics did not do enough to win the game, which goes without saying. But the abysmal three point shooting and underwhelming defensive efforts have to be remedied going forward. A better balance also needs to be struck between Brown and Hayward, who both seem to be aiming for a similar role on the Celtics’ ambitious hopes going forward. They’re going to have to start finding permanent solutions to these problems instead of simple bandages to stop the flooding if they want to have any hope of contending with teams like Milwaukee down the line.