Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: Bucks capitalize on Celtics mistakes

Stars, studs and duds: Bucks capitalize on Celtics mistakes

BOSTON – Even if Gordon Hayward weren’t out indefinitely with dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia, the Boston Celtics would still be working on finding the right combinations to play with that works.

But without him, that process becomes much more challenging as we saw in Wednesday’s 108-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The team’s newer faces in new roles created some old-as-beginning-of-time problems for the Celtics with players not consistently being where they were supposed to while in the game.

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“They (Milwaukee) capitalized on a lot of mistakes we made,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier. “We messed up on a lot of plays. That can’t happen.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens didn’t mince his words when it came to succinctly explaining how Boston now finds itself on a two-game losing streak to start the season which hasn’t happened since his rookie season as the Celtics’ head coach in 2013.

“Both nights I thought that we got outplayed,” Stevens said.

Rozier agreed.

“Like he (Stevens) said, … you better learn those plays or you won’t play,” Rozier said.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

STARS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak will be a legit top-5 MVP candidate for his ability to simply fill up the stat sheet every night. Boston had no answer for him on Wednesday, as Antetokounmpo finished with 37 points, 13 rebounds and three assists along with three steals.

 

STUDS

Jaylen Brown

Two games into the season and Brown is looking very much like one of the league’s most improved players. He delivered another strong performance on Wednesday, tallying 18 points and five rebounds which included nine points scored in the third quarter. He fouled out with 1:48 to play.

Terry Rozier

He was having a near triple-double kind of night in a very quiet, below-the-radar fashion. He would finish with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists off the Celtics bench.

Malcolm Brogdon

The NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year was once again making his presence felt at both ends of the floor. In addition to some solid play defensively, Brogdon also had 19 points and four assists.

 

DUDS

Kyrie Irving

This just wasn’t Irving’s night. He got lots of good looks but far too often, came up short. He would finish with 17 points for Boston, but shot just 7-for-25 from the field. He has to be more efficient than that for the Celtics to be successful, especially with Gordon Hayward out indefinitely.

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Celtics offense struggles mightily in Game 3 loss to Bucks

Celtics offense struggles mightily in Game 3 loss to Bucks

MILWAUKEE – The Boston Celtics have had their share of offensive clunkers this season.

But few were as painfully woeful as what transpired in the first half of Boston’s 116-92 Game 3 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Boston now has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 4 in Milwaukee on Sunday and Game 5 back in Boston on Tuesday.

“I didn’t think we were great, but offensively we were horrendous in the first (half),” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We were on our heels the whole time.”

Boston found itself in a 16-6 ditch to start the game, and it didn’t get much better from there.

Milwaukee shot 55 percent from the field in the first quarter, but the killer for Boston in the first was their 2-for-19 (10.5 percent) shooting from the field which put the Celtics in a 27-12 hole after one quarter of play.

Offensive struggles are nothing new for Boston which shot 45 percent from the field in the regular season which ranked 23rd in the NBA. 

They haven’t been much better in the playoffs, connecting on just 45.1 percent of their shots which ranks ninth among the 16 teams in the playoffs.

Things got better offensively for Boston in the second quarter and they wound up shooting a respectable 50 percent (10-for-20) from the field. 

But it still wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Bucks who connected on 63.2 percent (12-for-19) of their shots in the second quarter which pushed their halftime lead to 58-35.

“We got in a hole. This is new for our group,” said Al Horford. “It’s the first time we’ve gone on the road in the playoffs in a tough environment. We did some good things there, but at that point, they had it going. Give them credit. They had it going, and we really didn’t have an answer for them tonight.”

And that more than anything else, should be a major concern for the Celtics heading into Game 4 on Sunday.

If they’re not getting more stops defensively, their offense has to be more efficient, more impactful than what we saw in Game 3 if the Celtics are to continue to remain in control. 

“They did what they had to do out there,” Boston’s Marcus Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “They were the more desperate team. They did what they had to do. We’ll see them on Sunday.”

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Middleton has another big game as Celtics fall to Bucks in Game 3

Middleton has another big game as Celtics fall to Bucks in Game 3

MILWAUKEE – Here are the Stars, Studs, and Duds from Boston’s 116-92 Game 3 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

MORE - Stevens: 'We were on our heels the whole time'

STARS

Khris Middleton: It was yet another impactful, highly efficient game for Middleton. He led all scorers with 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting along with eight rebounds and seven assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: He was still a central figure in Milwaukee’s scoring, but the Bucks weren’t nearly as dependent on him to carry the scoring load in Game 3. That said, Antetokounmpo still finished with a strong 19-point, five-rebound, five-assist performance. 

Al Horford: Horford had 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting, but didn’t get much help from his teammates who were a combined 25-for-67 (37.3 percent).

 

STUDS

Thon Maker: A seldom-used reserve in Games 1 and 2, Maker was a true difference-maker for the Bucks. In addition to scoring 14 points, he also grabbed five rebounds and tallied five blocked shots.

Eric Bledsoe: Give Bledsoe credit. He said he would be better back in Milwaukee, and he backed it up with a strong performance. He had 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

Bucks bench: The play of Thon Maker stood out, but he wasn’t the only Milwaukee backup to step up with a strong Game 3 performance. Matthew Dellavedova (5 points) and Jabari Parker (17 points on 7-for-12 shooting) were part of a Bucks bench that outscored Boston’s second unit, 50-34.

Aron Baynes: Baynes played 30 minutes and made the most of his opportunities to score, tallying eight points on 3-for-3 shooting (he made both of his 3-point attempts) along with grabbing eight rebounds.

 

DUDS

Terry Rozier: We haven’t seen Terry Rozier struggle like we did in Game 3 in quite some time. Rozier, who came in averaging 23 points after the first two games, had just nine points on 2-for-7 shooting in Game 3. More significant was Rozier’s five turnovers – he had zero in Games 1 and 2.

Marcus Morris: Milwaukee did a much better limiting Marcus Morris who was a major matchup in Games 1 and 2. In Friday’s Game 3 matchup, Morris had just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting.

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