Celtics turning more and more offensive
BOSTON -- It seemed no matter who was taking shots, they were bound to go in for the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
Just like the defense hit the ground running with strong play, we’re starting to see things come together for an offense that seems to be getting better from one game to the next.
Monday’s 111-100 win over Milwaukee has to rank among the better offensive showings by the Celtics this season. They shot 55.1 percent from the field, the fifth straight game Boston (21-4) has made at least 50 percent of its shots from the field. That’s the longest such streak under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens, and the longest by the franchise since a seven-game stretch Nov. 26 – Dec. 9, 2010.
Boston also shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range, which extended its streak of games shooting 40 percent or better on 3s. That equals the longest such streak in the NBA this season (Detroit, Nov. 4-17).
There is an undeniable sense that the offense is figuring out not only how to perform better, but do so in such a way that it doesn’t negatively impact the ultimate goal every night which is to win games.
“As the season progresses, it’ll just continue to get better,” said Kyrie Irving.
Here are five takeaways from Boston’s 111-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The chemistry developing between Kyrie Irving and Al Horford is undeniable, two players whose games seem to compliment each other quite well. The 1-2 punch they delivered on Monday was too much for the Bucks to deal with, as they combined to score 52 points on 21-for-34 shooting along with combining for 13 rebounds and 9 assists.
Along with his defense, Marcus Smart’s playmaking is really starting to turn a few heads. He had seven assists off the Celtics bench against the Bucks and is averaging 5.4 assists per game, which leads the NBA among reserves.
THE GREEK FREAK FOR MVP
After watching a replay of last night’s game, I’m even more convinced about Giannis Antetokounmpo as a legitimate MVP candidate, regardless of the Bucks’ record. He dropped 40 points on the Celtics, doing so on an efficient 14-for-24 shooting night. But within those numbers, Antetokounmpo was a blistering 11-for-14 on contested field goal attempts.
Boston had lost the battle of the boards in six straight games. That wasn't an issue against the Bucks, who came in as one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA this season. The Celtics absolutely clobbered the Bucks on the boards, to the tune of 45-28.
You figure the way he has played this season, a spot in the All-Star weekend rookie game seems inevitable. But he might be called upon to do more than just play with his fellow first-year players. Tatum is shooting a league-best 51.3 percent from 3-point range this season.