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Celtics-Bucks halftime hot takes

Milwaukee leads 69-59 at the break. Jaylen Brown is the top scorer for Boston with 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The infirmary

A few big names are out tonight for Boston. Jayson Tatum (right patella tendinopathy) and Al Horford (low back soreness) are sidelined, along with the recuperating Robert Williams. Consequently, Daniel Theis and Derrick White received the start in their place.

The decision not to play Tatum and Horford — who both logged 30-plus minutes against Chicago last night — proves that Boston is prioritizing health ahead of seeding with the playoffs right around the corner.

Derrick White has shot the three-ball much more efficiently as of late

The number one criticism directed towards White is that he hasn’t converted enough of his threes (29 percent with Boston). But White has shifted this narrative over the last eight games with a solid long-range shooting stretch, including a 3-for-6 start tonight.

Since March 23rd, White is shooting 16-for-32 from deep, which equates to a scorching 50% clip. Over this span, White has three games with three-plus threes and only one game — a 1-for-4 performance versus Miami — where he’s shot worse than 38% from beyond. It would be unreasonable to expect White to keep up this torrid shooting, but if he can shoot even in the high 30’s on threes in the playoffs, the Celtics will be significantly harder to beat.

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks

Celtics feeling the absence of Horford and Williams

Without a true rim protector on the floor, the Bucks ran roughshod over the Celtics in the paint throughout the first half. Milwaukee enters the break ahead in points in the paint to the tune of 34-10. Yes, you read that correctly. This discrepancy is partly because the Celtics are taking and making many threes — they are 11-for-27 as a team. Still, to be outplayed so drastically in paint scoring — an aspect of offense that usually generates the easiest baskets — is not necessarily conducive to winning.

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