The Boston Celtics got the best of both worlds in the first half, displaying an efficient offense and an effective defense that paved the way for a comfortable 64-53 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks at halftime.
Coming off a 30-point blowout win over Orlando last night, the Celtics didn’t waste any time jumping on the Bucks with an 11-2 run.
Leading the way early on was Jae Crowder, a former Big East Player of the Year who starred for Marquette on the very same floor he was lighting up the Bucks in the early goings on Saturday.
And as the game wore on, Crowder got a little help … OK, a lot of help.
Boston capped off the first quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Gerald Green that put the Celtics ahead 42-27.
The 42 points scored were the most by the Celtics in any quarter of play this season.
Both teams were playing on the back end of a back-to-back set of games, but the Celtics looked like the fresher team.
They would pull ahead by as many as 16 points in the second, only for the Bucks to get Boston’s lead down to 10 points (44-34) following aa Malcolm Brogdon dunk.
Brad Stevens had seen enough slippage defensively by his team, calling a time-out with 7:28 to play in the half.
The Celtics control of the game remained strong, even as the Bucks teetered between facing a single and double-digit deficit.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.
No matter how many times we’ve seen it this season, Thomas continues to amaze folks with his play. At the half, Thomas had 23 points but doing so on just 5-for-6 shooting.
Once again it was Crowder setting the tone with a strong offensive showing in the first quarter which is when he scored 11 of his 13 first-half points.
It wasn’t one of his best first halves of play, but there was no mistaking the Greek Freak’s impact on the game. At the half, he had eight points on 3-for-8 shooting along with four assists and three rebounds.
Milwaukee’s shooting struggles seemed to impact everyone except Beasley who had a team-high 11 points in the first half while playing just eight minutes.
The bounce was real on Saturday night, with Olynyk making a couple of nice, above-the-rim plays in the first half. He had nine points off the Celtics bench along with grabbing three rebounds.
He didn’t shoot a ton, but made the most of his opportunities. He had 10 points in the first half on 4-for-5 shooting to go with three rebounds and two assists.
He was a borderline all-star this season, but certainly didn’t play like one in the first half. He was scoreless in the first half, missing all six of his shot attempts while grabbing one rebound and dishing out one assist.