In a nutshell
Holy sh*t! I could not have scripted a better Celtics performance in Game 1.
Led by the amazing Al Horford, Boston’s defense stifled, suffocated, smothered and strangled Giannis Antetokounmpo and the NBA’s highest-scoring offense in a shocking 112-90 ass-whooping.
I don’t think I’ve seen Al (20 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) play a better game. He completely flummoxed the younger, more athletic Giannis (22 points on 7-21 FG).
As for Milwaukee’s vaunted supporting cast: Eric Bledose (6 points) had one FG. ONE. Brook Lopez had as many air balls as made field goals (1). Khris Middleton (16 points) had two points in the 2nd half.
What went right
Everything, except for a 5 minute stretch in the 2nd quarter where the Bucks rattled off a 15-0 run.
Aside from Horford, Kyrie Irving (26 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists) and Jaylen Brown (19 points, 8-14 FGs) were also spectacular.
In general, the offense was crisp. The Celtics shot well (54%, 42% 3FG), moved the ball (25 assists) and protected the ball (10 turnovers). All this against the league’s best defense.
It’s quite clear the Bucks do not have anyone who can cover Gordon Hayward (13 points, 5-8 FG, 5 assists). I felt like Gordo could have done a lot more damage, if needed.
What went wrong
Aron Baynes turned his left ankle (yes, that ankle) in the 2nd quarter. Baynes was available to return (they didn’t need him) and told the media that he will be able to go in Game 2.
Jayson Tatum (4 points, 2-7 FG) was the only regular who didn’t churn out his normal output. Tatum did chip in 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
What the hell
The Celtics were whistled for 10 more fouls (21-11) and the Bucks took 16 more FTs (24-8), yet some folks were claiming the officials favored Boston. And Giannis isn’t the only one who gets away with traveling. Bledsoe, Middleton, and Lopez routinely stumbled into the lane without getting called for traveling. And don’t get me started about Bledsoe’s off-arm shoves on drives.
It’s the playoffs, Budenholzer. Toughen up.
I’m fairly confident Scott Foster or Tony Brothers will be officiating Game 2.
Let’s watch it again…