After the first round of the playoffs, spirits were high for the Boston Celtics. A sweep of the Brooklyn Nets had players and fans feeling good. Well, those feelings came crashing down to earth on Sunday afternoon, as the Milwaukee Bucks dismantled the Celtics 101-89 and wrestled away home court advantage.
Boston’s offense was out of sorts all night long, Jaylen Brown couldn’t find his rhythm, and the Bucks’ role players made the Celtics pay for double-teaming Giannis Antetokounmpo. All-in-all, it was a game most Bostonians would like to soon forget.
That’s a sentiment shared by the players, too. Big man Al Horford sent that same message to Marcus Smart, who took a real beating during Game 1:
He did take a beating today. I don’t know how he does it, but he finds a way. He gets back in there. And I told him tonight, I was like, ‘get your rest, get ready, and we got another one on Tuesday.’
Smart sprinted off the court near the end of the second quarter with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. The Celtics reported that it was merely a “shoulder stinger,” but also noted that he had suffered a right quad contusion. Smart could be seen limping throughout the remainder of the contest.
Horford later re-emphasized his point: the Celtics are eager to push forward:
We understand what we’re up against. Obviously, he’s [Antetokounmpo] a great player. And yeah, that’s that. We’re ready to move on for Tuesday.
In a game where the Celtics couldn’t find their footing, Horford looked like the shining star. He ended the night with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double and played phenomenal defense on Antetokounmpo. However, the Greek Freak’s passing was enough to nullify many of his defensive efforts.
Jayson Tatum repeated a similar line of thinking when talking about Brown’s subpar performance. When asked about whether or not he spoke to Brown, he said that the Celtics need to keep their heads up and focus on Game 2:
I mean, we all had a rough night. Nobody should hang their heads now. We’re in this together, right? All that matters is if you win or if you lose. I got all the faith in the world and JB. He’ll be better in Game 2. We all expect to play better. Can’t change what happened. Just gotta get ready for the next one.
Tatum ended the night with 21 points, six rebounds, and six steals. He shot 6-of-18 from the field and 4-of-9 from three-point range. However, it took Tatum a while to get going, as he only mustered up nine first-half points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Brown was asked about Milwaukee’s physicality. He credited the Bucks for their play, but like his teammates, Brown ended the response by looking ahead to the next game, too:
They did a good job of setting the tone early, picking us up full-court. We’ll make our adjustments and be ready for the next one.
As disappointing as it was to lose Game 1, there’s nothing else for Boston to do but keep moving. And they know that. Game 2 will take place on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. EST. The contest can be streamed on TNT.