BOSTON – When this Boston-Milwaukee playoff series began, there were legitimate questions about how Boston’s youthful backcourt tandem of Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown would hold up against the Bucks and their more experienced tandem led by Eric Bledsoe and Tony Snell.
Two games and two Celtics wins later, this hasn’t even been marginally close with Boston’s 1-2 backcourt punch delivering one big shot after another which has been among the keys to Boston taking a 2-0 series lead as Games 3 and 4 shift to Milwaukee.
In two games, Rozier and Brown have outscored Milwaukee’s starting backcourt 96-25.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens believes those numbers are a bit skewed because they don’t take into account the scoring of Khris Middleton whom Stevens considers as being part of the Milwaukee backcourt.
Add Middleton’s 56 points scored in the first two games and that brings the Bucks’ perimeter point total up to 81.
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“We’re trying a lot of different bodies on Middleton,” Stevens said. “Bledsoe’s a handful because of his ability to drive the ball and knock down shots off screens. And Snell as always been a guy that’s been able to make open shots.”
But if you’re gonna factor in Middleton’s points for Milwaukee, you have to throw in Jayson Tatum’s 23 points in two games which would bring the final tally to 122-81, a staggering lopsided figure as well.
Stevens knows all too well that the road for his perimeter players and his entire team for that matter, will only get rougher in time.
“We know we have our hands full and our guys are preparing ever game like that’s the case,” Stevens said.
And even with the lopsided nature of the scoring thus far from the starting perimeter players by Boston, there’s still a sense that some Bucks – ok, one Bucks player – isn’t quite ready to put some respect on what the Celtics were able to do perimeter-wise in Games 1 and 2.
Bledsoe, who is averaging 10.5 points in this series, was asked about Rozier’s play after two games which in addition to averaging 23.0 points also includes him failing to turn the ball over once in more than 78 minutes of action.
“Who?” was Bledsoe’s initial responded which was followed by, “I don’t even know who the (expletive) that is.”
Stevens was aware of Bledsoe’s comments about Rozier but made it clear that he was not going to get into anything that might he constructed as a war of words.
“I heard that,” said Stevens about the comments in regards to Rozier before adding, “Our team is just focused on Game 3.”