The Boston Celtics didn’t experience much push-back from the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 as the C’s cruised to a dominant, 112-90 victory to kickoff the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.
But Jaylen Brown is expecting to see a much different Bucks squad when the teams resume their series Tuesday night (8 p.m.) for Game 2.
“I think they’re going to be a lot more physical and a lot more aggressive coming out,” Brown said. “We just got to match their intensity, and actually, raise it. I’m anticipating them to be the best version of themselves tomorrow.”
The Celtics zoned in on Bucks’ superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 1 and disrupted his ability to get to the rim. Antetokounmpo had his shot blocked on a few occasions on drives to the basket – mostly courtesy of Al Horford who provided stellar defense and a highlight-reel swat on the Greek Freak – and the C’s held him to just 7-for-21 shooting from the field for 22 points.
But while much attention is paid to Antetokounmpo, the C’s also played some lockdown defense on the Bucks’ wing players, in particular their second leading-scorer in Khris Middleton. With Middleton being a primary responsibility of Jayson Tatum and Brown on the defensive end, Middleton didn’t play his best, and shot 5-for-12 from the floor for 16 points in Game 1.
And Brown is getting himself ready for Middleton to have more of an involvement in Game 2.
“I think (Middleton’s) going to come out and be ultra aggressive next game and I’m already mentally preparing myself for that,” Brown said. “I don’t think he took enough shots in Game 1. I think he’s going to take a lot more shots in Game 2, and rightfully so. So, we got to be ready for that. Can’t be surprised.”
But the key will still by trying to slow down Antetokounmpo, which could be more challenging in Game 2 as the C’s expect Giannis to look for a little retribution.
“I expect him to come out and probably try to dunk on the whole team,” Brown said.