After logging heavy minutes in an overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the TD Garden the night before, the Celtics traveled to Milwaukee to face the Bucks, who had a two-day rest heading into the matchup.
Boston then got destroyed, 135-102.
From the jump, you could tell that this game was going to be tough. No one could have guessed it would be THIS tough, though.
Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo traded buckets to start off a first-quarter blitz against a tired Celtics defense. Brook Lopez and Malik Beasley got in on the action, and everything was going in for Milwaukee early.
It was looking pretty bleak for the guys in green, other than Oshae Brissett getting into the paint for a gross one-handed slam over Pat Connaughton. Then he made a cut for yet another jam. Getting to the rim early in games has been a struggle for Boston, so Brissett’s contributions were welcomed.
Nonetheless, the Bucks led 41-23 at the end of the first quarter. Yikes.
Milwaukee shot 65% from the field and 67% from three in the first. Compare that to 36% and 13% for Boston, and you’ll understand why the Bucks dominated the first.
Over the first two quarters, the Bucks strung together a 25-0 run, thanks to Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Portis finished with 28 and 12 off the bench.
There was a lid on the bucket for the whole first half, and the Bucks led 75-38 at the half – the biggest half-time deficit in the NBA this season. Boston had just one make from 16 three-point attempts, and shot 16-50 from the field. Just horrible.
At the half, Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 10 points on 5-14 shooting. Jayson Tatum had only taken six shots, and had seven points.
They didn’t play another minute.
Faced with the opportunity to make the largest comeback in NBA history (36 points), Boston sat all of their starters for the rest of the game. I can’t say I blame them – my backup recapper is finishing this one out for me, too.
The bench put on a nice little 8-0 run in the third, the best stretch of offense in the game for the Celtics.
I wish rookie Jordan Walsh was active for this game. It would have been really nice to get him a whole half of a game that no longer matters. Walsh has yet to make his NBA debut, but is averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 assist on 42% shooting from deep with the Maine Celtics of the G League.
Instead, we got a lot of Brissett, Payton Pritchard, Svi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, and Neemias Queta. Which is fun too, I guess.
Should we be concerned about this game?
Honestly, no. This was such a bizarre outcome that it’s impossible to pull anything of value from the Celtics’ play. Yeah, they were bad. And yes, they were tired. But don’t listen to the noise – Boston is still leading the league in almost every way possible, and dudes have bad games.
Let’s just hope they got this out of their system, and we’ll see how they do against the Rockets on Saturday.
The Celtics will have the Bucks again on March 30th.
Good news for me – it’s usually tough to write this kind of piece so quickly throughout the game, but I had plenty of time to write this recap in the 24 minutes of garbage time – and while Antetokounmpo did his 30 second free throw dance every time he went to the line.