Boston, MA– After a stellar performance in game one against the Milwaukee Bucks, Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics picked the worst possible time to have what very well could be the worst three-game slump of his entire career. Once he went eight for 22 from the field, he vowed that no one would ever see a performance like that from him again. He was right, in a way, because he instead decided to shoot seven for 22 last night.
Kyrie did lead the team in points, with 23, but he owes that in large part to his ability to get to the free throw line and his willingness to play hero ball, even when a vast majority of his shots would not fall. His woes were simply emblematic of the Celtics, as a whole, as the entire team shot under 38% from the field. Milwaukee also had a rough night of shooting, but they eventually pulled things together and wound up shooting 44%. It was just that Boston was never able to capitalize on Milwaukee's myriad missed shots.
Part of the reason for this was Boston's lackluster defense as they allowed Milwaukee to out-hustle them every step of the way. Giannis Antetokounmpo was definitely their star as he scored 39 points and did whatever he wanted against a less than energized Boston defense. But it was Eric Bledsoe who made the difference with a number of hustle plays that Boston expected to receive from returning guard Marcus Smart.
Right now, it feels like game one was like that scene in Avengers: Infinity War when the Hulk fights Thanos and gets a few good licks in. But every game since then has been Ebony Maw saying, "Let him have his fun," as Thanos comes back and systematically overpowers Hulk in every way. The Bucks have the Celtics lifted high above their head right now. Will they slam Boston down to win the series handily? Or will Boston muster some final strength and force a sixth game? We shall find out tomorrow night at 8:00 P.M. on the road.