Celtics take commanding lead vs. Bucks in the playoffs

By Nick Ospina
On April 18, 2018

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison

Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart were all expected to be key contributors for the Boston Celtics this season, in hopes of a deep playoff run. But none of those three players have been on the court thus far in these playoffs, and the Celtics still find themselves with a 2-0 series lead over the seventh seeded Milwaukee Bucks, following Tuesday nights 120-106 victory.

After grinding out a victory in Game 1, the undermanned Celtics came out firing in Game 2, out hustling the Bucks The Celtics took the lead midway through the first quarter and never looked back, ending the quarter with a 33-22 lead.

Turnovers were an issue from the start of the game, as the Bucks turned the ball over 15 times, which led to 21 Celtics points, compared to the Celtics who only committed seven turnovers throughout the game.  

Much basketball experts had written the Celtics off, saying that they were too young, nor did they have enough star power on their roster to overtake a Bucks squad led by the "Greek Freak" himself Giannis Antetokounmpo who finished with 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Along with a supporting cast featuring Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton. But don’t say that to second year small forward Jaylen Brown.

“Ultimately, we just want to win games. I think that’s the only thing we’re concerned with. We’re as confident as ever. Teams have been writing us off all year, and we just keep proving people wrong, so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Brown to the Boston Globe, post-game.

The third overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft, out of the University of California, Brown led the Celtics, scoring a playoff career high of 30 points, helping the Celtics ice the game in the second half. Brown is the youngest Celtic ever at just 21 to score 30-or-more points in a playoff game.

Third year backup point guard, Terry Rozier, out of the University of Louisville, also contributed in a huge way. Rozier finished with 23 points along with 11 assists, without committing a single turnover. And Rozier has also seemed to get into the head of Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe. When speaking to the media following the game, Bledsoe was asked about Rozier.

“Who....I don’t even know who the [expletive] that is,” said Bledsoe responding to a question about Rozier.

Bucks coach, Joe Prunty, who took over for former head coach Jason Kidd midseason, after Kidd was fired on January 22, wasn’t too thrilled with his team’s performance. Prunty felt that the Celtics not only were out playing than his team, but they were also being out hustled by Boston.

“Boston, from the jump, I thought they played harder. The little things were the problems and a lot of that added up through the entire game,” said Prunty to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.    

Game 3 will be Friday night as the series shifts to Milwaukee, but it’s safe to say that it’s a must win game for the Bucks, as no team in NBA history has come back to win a series down 0-3.

 

nospina@ramapo.edu

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