The Boston Celtics avenged Wednesday's loss with a 122-114 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
There's no doubt the C's lacked energy out the gate in Game 1 of the miniseries, but that wasn't the case in the second matchup. They came out firing with 60 points in the first half and didn't let off the gas in the second. Boston showed improvement defensively and was deadly from beyond the arc, drilling 22 of 47 attempts.
Leading the way for the Celtics was Jayson Tatum, who dropped 34 points while going 4-for-7 from 3. Robert Williams was outstanding as well in his fourth career start and first of the season. We'll get more into that in a moment.
With the win, the C's moved to 22-23 on the season and provided reasons for optimism going forward. Here are three quick observations from the victory, which snaps the Bucks' eight-game winning streak.
1. Robert Williams thrived in a starting role
Tatum took over in the scoring department, but Williams was the star in every other category. Time Lord stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and two steals. He was +19 and undoubtedly the best defensive player on the floor.
Now that Daniel Theis is no longer in the picture, we can expect Williams to get his fair share of minutes from here on out. Even when Tristan Thompson returns to the lineup, Time Lord has done enough this season to show he belongs in the starting five.
Friday night's performance was his exclamation point.
2. Marcus Smart found his 3-point shot
Smart had been cold from beyond the arc over his last few games, especially in Game 1 vs. Milwaukee. The C's guard went 2-for-10 from 3 in Wednesday night's loss with some questionable decision-making in the fourth quarter. He was a completely different player in Friday's win.
Smart dropped 23 points, 21 of them coming from 3s (7-for-10). Usually, C's fans hold their breath when Smart pulls up from 3, but this time he was virtually automatic.
Perhaps Smart was motivated by pre-trade deadline rumors that he was being shopped in potential deals, or by Evan Fournier being brought in to be the go-to scorer off the bench.
Whatever the case may be, Smart played a huge role in this bounceback C's victory.
3. Moe Wagner quickly made his presence felt
Brad Stevens said prior to Friday night's game that he doubted Moritz Wagner would play vs. Milwaukee. Well, sure enough the new Celtics big man made his debut in the fourth quarter.
Wagner wasted no time introducing himself to C's fans as he drilled a corner 3 and topped it off with a celebration that made for an excellent photo:
Welcome to Boston, Moe.
Wagner also tallied five rebounds in 10 minutes. He was far from perfect (three turnovers), but he provided a glimpse of what he could bring to the table with more reps.
Next up for the Celtics is the second night of a back-to-back as Boston will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Saturday. Tip-off for the matchup is set for 9 p.m.