BOSTON – There would be no late-game desperation heaves or clutch baskets down the stretch.
The Boston Celtics have been a team that has left fans on the edge of their seats, providing the kind of drama that always makes for good TV.
But there would be none of that on Tuesday as the Boston Celtics steadily pulled away for a comfortable 120-106 Game 2 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Boston leads the best-of-seven series 2-0 now, with Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee.
Jaylen Brown finished with a career-high 30 points which led six double-figure scorers for Boston.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee was once again led by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 30 points, with Khris Middleton chipping in with 25.
Boston spent most of the first half with a lead, but didn’t start to separate itself from the Bucks until the third quarter.
That’s when Brown scored 10 of his team-high 30 points and Shane Larkin had five points in the final 26 seconds to push Boston’s lead up to 90-75 going into the fourth.
There was plenty of time left on the clock, but the Celtics had taken all the fight out of the Bucks well before the fourth quarter rolled around.
Many of the same problems the Bucks experienced in Game 1 – lots of turnovers, shoddy rebounding on the defensive boards and an inability to keep Boston from playing bully-ball with lots of points in the paint – were just as pronounced in Game 2.
Boston winning in such a convincing fashion did not seem all that likely in the game’s early stages.
The first few minutes were more about both teams feeling each other out than anything else.
After Milwaukee went ahead 13-11, Boston went on a five-point spurt capped off by a powerful dunk by Brown which led to a time-out for the Bucks.
Boston continued to put some distance between itself and the Bucks, with a multitude of Celtics getting the job done.
Leading the charge once again was Al Horford whose presence and play-making was problematic for Milwaukee’s post defenders. He had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Brown was aggressive at both ends of the floor for Boston, getting it done scoring-wise and defensively.
And Boston’s bench was being carried by Marcus Morris who continues to be a matchup nightmare that was in bully-ball mode with a mix of mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers. He continues to lead Boston’s second unit, tallying 18 points – tops among all reserves for both teams.
Antetokounmpo had an extremely efficient first half with 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting. And his favorite sidekick, Middleton, was on pace for another nice game with 10 points at the half on 4-for-6 shooting.
And the Bucks were shooting 62.2 percent from the field at the half, compared to 49 percent by the Celtics.
However, Boston had a 60-51 lead at the half and the reasons were obvious.
The Celtics gave us a glimpse of how the game would play out from the outset when Horford missed a shot in the paint only for Brown to clean up the miss for an easy put-back basket.
Boston wound up with a decisive 20-9 advantage in second-chance points, and their bench had a 41-25 edge.