IN A NUTSHELL
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks developed a mini-rivalry during the 2017-18 season, mostly in the playoffs, so this was an intensely physical and borderline chippy game.
Unfortunately, this didn’t work in the Celtics’ favor. Despite fiery opening minutes, strong intermittent rallies and a spirited (and team-high; 21 points) scoring performance by Jaylen Brown, Milwaukee established a lead about a third of the way through Q1 and never looked back, ending up with a 120-107 victory and serving Boston their third loss in a row.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Jaylen Brown was absolutely outstanding in the second half; it may have been his best sustained performance this season.
Jayson Tatum didn’t have a great shooting night but made up for it with multiple drives resulting in trips to the line.
Boston got lucky on some very questionable goaltending calls against Giannis. If I were a Bucks fan those would have me livid regardless of score or final result. I am not, so they don’t.
Semi Ojeleye did fairly well in his first spot start, even if his offense wasn’t sustainable.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Giannis got to the line approximately, like, 69,420 times or so, and made 75 percent of those shots.
Offense was not always easy to come by for the Celtics in this one. To say the least. That said, most of this was shots simply not falling; the plays and passing and shots were not particularly bad.
Unless you were Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving. The whiteboy’s first start since his demotion to sixth/seventh man did not go well at all, and Kyrie couldn’t get into rhythm.
Defensively…just…woof. The murderous out-rebounding that was shocking but seemingly aberrant in the Phoenix game two nights ago happened yet again. This team needs Al Horford back.
Not having an answer for Antetokounmpo is one thing. Nobody does, really. The key to beating the Bucks lies in letting Giannis cook and neutering everyone else, as the Celtics did during every home game of the 2018 playoffs. Not having an answer for Khris Middleton is even acceptable, but no answer for Thon Maker’s three-point shooting isn’t.
Lacking a solution to keep Tony farking Snell from being wide open to score in double figures is absolutely horrific.
WHAT THE HELL/ASSORTED WEIRDNESS
I hate Tony Snell.
I do, however, appreciate how Milwaukee has abandoned its puzzling attachment to all white centers ever, which was a constant aspect of that roster for like the past four years. They also realized how big a mistake it was to pay Matthew Dellavedova, albeit three seasons too late.
Yabu’s purple hair was better than the platinum blond.
GREEN FIRE HIGHLIGHTS
JAYLEN SMASH GREECE WORSE THAN FISCAL INEPTITUDE:
JAYLEN BROWN WITH THE STARE DOWN (@AAANe_MAnews) #AAANortheast pic.twitter.com/XpYJsDQ04X
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 22, 2018
Kyrie and Hayward looking as good as they always should:
That pass by Kyrie pic.twitter.com/VlG0md9W3A
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 22, 2018