Celtics

Horford leads Celtics in wild Game 1 win over Bucks

Horford leads Celtics in wild Game 1 win over Bucks

BOSTON –  Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 113-107 Game 1 playoff win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

STARS

Al Horford: Big Al came up with one of his biggest games of the season and the Celtics needed it. He tallied a double-double that included a team-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds along with four assists, two steals and three blocked shots. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak was dominant as ever, finishing with a double-double that included a game-high 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting, along with 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Terry Rozier: Scary Terry was at his best down the stretch, drilling what was thought to be the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds to play. When that shot was matched to force overtime, Rozier was at it again, coming up big down the stretch. He finished with 23 points, including three free throws in the final 13 seconds of overtime. 

Khris Middleton: This was one of those dominant performances in a very stealth-like manner. He hit the game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime which was one of several big shots by Middleton. He would finish the night with 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting along with eight rebounds and six assists.

STUDS

Jaylen Brown: Strong play all game from Jaylen Brown as he finished with 20 points on 9-for-19 shooting to go with four rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. 

Malcolm Brogdon: He was Milwaukee’s most effective scorer off the bench on Sunday. Last year’s rookie of the year had 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

Jayson Tatum: This was a strong playoff debut by the 20-year-old rookie, finishing with 19 points on 8-for-18 shooting as part of a double-double that included 10 rebounds which made him just the third Celtics rookie all-time to tally a double-double in their first playoff game. 

Marcus Morris: He drained a couple of circus-like shots with the shot clock winding down, but there was a lot to like about what Morris brought to the game offensively. He scored 21 points off the bench to go with seven rebounds which was also tops among reserves for both teams.

DUDS

Eric Bledsoe: The Bucks didn’t get nearly enough impactful plays from Bledsoe who had just nine points on 4-for-12 shooting before fouling out. It’s never a good night when you finish with more turnovers (5) than assists (4), and you’re a guard. 

Jabari Parker: The Bucks seemingly had a matchup advantage with Parker coming off the bench. But like most of the Bucks, Parker struggled to ever get into any kind of rhythm as he scored just two points while missing four of his five shot attempts.

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And the latest star trying to dunk on Aron Baynes will be ...

And the latest star trying to dunk on Aron Baynes will be ...

BOSTON -- We don’t know when it’ll happen, but we know it’s happening.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to take off from somewhere outside of the paint for a dunk.

He’s going to go into sky-high mode, soaring through the air with the grace and size of condor only to have Boston’s Aron Baynes standing between him and yet another above-the-rim highlight reel.

In a playoff series that will surely have its share of subplots and twists throughout, here’s one more.

When will Antetokounmpo try and dunk on Aron Baynes?

Because we know as much as Antetokounmpo soars high and above most defenders with ease, Baynes isn’t one to back down or step aside so you can posterize him with a powerful jam which has become almost a given every night when he's on the floor.

“I don’t know; it must be the hair,” quipped Baynes in an earlier interview with NBC Sports Boston. “They don’t like my haircut; that’s what it is.”

But being more serious, Baynes added, “My job is to make their shot attempt as hard as possible. That’s not happening if I’m standing there watching them go off and dunk it. I try to get there even if I’m out of position, try to get my body in the right place to make it that bit tougher.”

In a more recent interview with NBC Sports Boston during Boston’s first-round series against the Pacers, Baynes said he doesn’t put a ton of planning into how he plans to defend players who try and dunk on him.

“I don’t really think much about it when I’m out there,” Baynes told NBC Sports Boston. “I just know I got a job to do, just like those guys have a job to do. It’s always fun!”

And not easy for either to get what they want during the inevitable mid-air collision.

“They see me as a challenge; I see them as a challenge,” Baynes said. “We try and meet up top and see how it goes.”

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Malcolm Brogdon (plantar fascia) out Games 1 and 2 for Bucks

Malcolm Brogdon (plantar fascia) out Games 1 and 2 for Bucks

BOSTON -- Misery loves company, right?

The Boston Celtics won’t be alone in their second-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks when it comes to beginning it without one of their top guards.

Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, sidelined with torn plantar fascia injury suffered last month, has been ruled out for Games 1 and 2 of the Bucks’ Conference semi-final matchup against the Celtics.

Even without Brogdon, the Bucks (60-22) still managed to finish the regular season with the best record in the NBA and with that, home court advantage as long as they are in the playoffs.

As expected, the Bucks cruised through their first-round series with Detroit which ended with a four-game sweep of the Pistons.

However, Milwaukee is eager to get Brogdon back on the floor against the Celtics in large part because of his ability to excel at both ends of the floor.

Having him available provides the Bucks with another defensive body that can make Kyrie Irving work harder for his shots than he would otherwise.

In addition, Brogdon has the ability on offense to impact the game on multiple levels and has been a tough cover for the Celtics in past years.

The 2017 NBA Rookie Of the Year averaged a career-high 15.6 points this past season.

But just as significant, he became only the eighth player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (50.5 percent), 40 percent on 3’s (42.6 percent) and 90 percent (92.8) from the free throw line.

The Bucks have indicated that he will be evaluated again prior to Game 3.

The outlook isn’t nearly as optimistic for one of Boston’s top guards, Marcus Smart, who will also be out for the start of the Conference Semifinals.

Unlike Brogdon, Smart (torn oblique) is considered a long shot to return to action during this series and if he did, it likely wouldn’t be until Game 6 or 7 and that would be an extremely optimistic/hopeful timeline.

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