A strong outing from third year point guard Terry Rozier, who helped pitch in 15 points 7 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench, was a great sign for coach Brad Stevens, but ultimately the C’s fell short in pursuit of defeating the Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night 108-100, dropping to 0-2 on the season thus far.
You can tell the injury to Celtics prized F Gordon Hayward took a toll coming into Wednesday, just 24 hours after the horrific injury suffered from the former Utah Jazz star. Going up for an alley oop just minutes into the 1st quarter, Hayward fell awkwardly on the hardwood, eventually leading to the fractured tibia and dislocated ankle diagnosis. Surgery has been reported for today, as Hayward will start the recovery process immediately.
In the wake of one of the most gruesome sports injuries you will ever see, the game moves on and the adjustments Brad Stevens had to do on the fly was the best outcome to win. Inserting Jayson Tatum, the rookie small forward out of Duke, was a major benefit not only for the 2017 #3 overall pick to earn minutes immediately, the familiarity to the Celtics playbook in a live game while getting early regular season minutes. Last night, Tatum dropped 14 points and 10 boards against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a major accomplishment for a 19 year old. Against Milwaukee, Tatum got the starting nod and contributed 8 points while grabbing 9 rebounds. Fellow small forward Jaylen Brown led the team in points once again with 18 and ripping down 5 boards. Kyrie Irving (17), Terry Rozier (15), Al Horford (13) and Marcus Smart (12), all dumped in double digit efforts but came up short once again. Coach Stevens also made roster lineup adjustments by allowing foreign star C Daniel Thesis and NBA G League MVP Abdel Nader to get their first minutes as a Celtic. Thesis finished with 6 points and 2 boards while Nader slammed home a dunk early on, but finished with a mere 4 points.
For the Bucks, starting the season off right was an accomplishment, taking advantage of the Gordon Hayward void in the C’s lineup was key. Star player Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way once again for the well rounded Bucks, dropping a game high 37 points in 37 minutes, additionally grabbing 13 rebounds and shooting a field goal percentage near 60%. Teammates Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon had 15 and 19 points respectively while racking over 40 minutes of playing time each. Feeding the ball down to Giannis was crucial for quick points while drawing fouls.
Both teams possessed a great knack for defensive awareness, especially from this young Celtics team built on forcing turnovers and shots. Al Horford, Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart each had three steals a piece while as a collective team, shot the ball near 43%. Milwaukee’s club shot towards 50%, again led by the Greek Freak himself who shot 59% from the field.
Next game for C’s- Friday @ Philadelphia