The Milwaukee Bucks were defeated by the Boston Celtics 96-89 in their much-anticipated return to the Mecca. Kyrie Irving’s wizardry and Al Horford’s perimeter shooting proved to be too much for the Bucks.
1. The 4th quarter spelled doom for the Milwaukee Bucks. Coach Jason Kidd trotted out Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mirza Teletovic, Deandre Liggins, Greg Monroe and Matthew Dellavedova to start the 4th. The Celtics took complete advantage and were able to up their lead to 8. The trend of poor play from the Milwaukee Bucks bench continues, something they need to fix ASAP if they want a chance to compete at a high level. Bucks silent assassin Khris Middleton continues to struggle for Milwaukee, as he has yet to find his shooting stroke this season. There are still plenty of games left for him to figure it out. The Bucks won’t win many games against good teams when if Khris struggles.
2. Kyrie Irving struggled in his first meeting against the Bucks, that certainly was not the case tonight. He finished with 24 points and 7 assists on 10-18 shooting. Uncle Drew came out of the gates hot and never looked back. Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon played solid defense all night on him, but sometimes you just got to tip your cap. The way Kyrie influenced the game tonight was remarkable, he made a handful of highlight plays tonight.
3. Does Al Horford ever have a bad game against the Bucks? He tormented Milwaukee to a tune of 27 points and 9 rebounds. He also hit 4 three-pointers. The Celtics big man also played terrific defense on Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo all night. This was certainly Giannis’ toughest matchup of the season so far. Horford helped set the tone on offense with his ability to set good screens to free up space.
4. Tonight was arguably Giannis Antetokounmpo’s worst game of the season, and he still managed to put up 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. He struggled mightily in the first quarter, due in large part to Al Horford’s stellar defense. However, you can’t hold down the Greek Freak for long. Giannis came alive offensively in the second half, but the Celtics clamped down on him and the Bucks in the fourth. He also hit 2 straight three-pointers with under a minute left, which was an encouraging sign. Giannis was minus-3 tonight, but without his production, this game would have been over in the first half.
5. The disparity at the free throw line between to two teams was evident tonight. The Bucks were a horrendous 8-14 from the line, while the Celtics made 19 of 22 free throws. It’s hard to compete when you shoot 57.1% from the charity stripe and your opponent makes 86.4%. More growing pain for the young and upcoming Milwaukee Bucks. The Milwaukee Bucks will look to turn it around on Sunday in Atlanta versus the rebuilding Hawks.