1. There is no shame in losing to the Bucks, even at home. Losing to them when you are without Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes is even less of a worry. But this loss feels a lot worse because it was preceded by a home loss to the Suns. Without that one, you kind of shrug and move on to the Hornets. As it stands though, the game against Charlotte on Sunday has a bit of a “must win” feel to it.
2. The start of this game played out somewhat similarly to the Phoenix game, as the Celtics raced out to a 10-1 lead. But that evaporated over the course of the first half, as Boston trailed Milwaukee by 17 at the break. Most concerning? The Celtics went a six-minute stretch in the first half where they scored just one basket. This team is far too offensively talented to go through these droughts as often as they do.
3. Let’s spend some time on Boston’s most-polarizing player: Jaylen Brown. Brown started this game with some excellent hustle plays. The best players find a way to impact games even when their shot goes missing. Brown seemed to pick up on that theme to open this game.
4. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Brown’s aggression got the best of him a few times. While he made several nice passes (more on that later!), Brown still gets in the air too often with no idea of what his next move is. This leads to turnovers or forced shots that have no prayer of going in.
5. This play was a nice one from Brown. He drives under control and finds Daniel Theis for the easy dunk. With his athleticism, these are the kinds of plays Brown should make on a more regular basis:
6. And, of course, Brown made the play of the night when he drove and hammered home a left-handed dunk on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Brown flexed after and was tagged with a technical foul for taunting, but the play seemed to get him going. If this one dunk unlocks Brown back to being the player he was last season, all will be forgotten:
7. Following the game, the Celtics players and coaches had an extended closed-door meeting. The media was kept out of the locker room for over 35 minutes, when they doors usually open somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes following the game. While no one would divulge what was discussed, these types of meetings often involve some serious self-evaluation. When he met with the media, Kyrie Irving did reference that “Obviously, some selfish play out there where we have some really talented guys, but we’re better as a team sharing the basketball.”
8. Noting the quote above, it’s probably fair to think that Irving would rather see more plays like this one. All five players touch the ball and it results in Brown getting a wide-open three-pointer:
9. Something to file away in the late-stages of a blowout: Brad Stevens went to a zone defense for several plays in the final minutes. This is something Stevens has done in the past, especially against opponents Boston will see again. The idea is to try something in a no-cost environment and see if you find something that works. The Celtics got stops and seemed to confuse the Bucks to some degree. Don’t be surprised if we see this one come back out in a more competitive situation next time.
10. It was a really rough game for Gordon Hayward. He got the start and played over 35 minutes, but hit just 3-of-13 shots and didn’t record a single assist. Playing with Irving and Marcus Smart as a starter, Hayward was relegated to playing off the ball. He had carved out a role as the primary playmaker on the second unit in recent weeks. It’s all part of the recovery process, but this was a disappointing showing from Hayward.
Bonus: Let’s end on a positive! Robert Williams has blocked all sorts of shots over the last couple of weeks. But some have come at a cost, as he’s ended up out of position, or failed to control the ball. But when a 6’9’’ big man can switch out on a guard and do this, you’ll take whatever downside might come from the aggressive shot-blocking, because this isn’t a play many bigs regularly make: