Celtics shut down the paint - take Game 1 from the Bucks, 112-90
Brad Stevens strategy of shutting down the paint worked to perfection, as Boston came away with the 112-90 victory in Game 1. This game was a dog fight in the early going, but Boston took control
Marcus Morris got the start for Boston, and both teams were tight. Brad Stevens strategy for Giannis Antetokounmpo was to double him in the paint, and it worked.
The Celtics were holding the Bucks to only one shot. The guys in green hauled down 16 boards in the first quarter to Milwaukee's eight. Kyrie Irving was all over the place on offense and was high-scorer for Boston with eight points. The quarter ended with Boston leading 26-17.
Gordon Hayward got to work right away in the second quarter, picking up two quick hoops. He was aggressive and attacking the basket. Mook caught Terry Rozier alone in the corner - made a great pass - and it was T-Ro with a 3-pointer. Then it was Aron Baynes by himself beyond the arc - Swish.
Giannis was amazingly quiet. At the 5:14 mark of the second quarter, he had only scored six points on 1-of-4 shooting, while adding two rebounds. Brad's defensive scheme was working.
Milwaukee got on a roll in the latter half of the quarter, evening the score at 40-40. George Hill came off the Milwaukee bench to score nine points on 4-of-5 from the field. The first half ended with Boston leading 52-50. High man for Milwaukee was Kris Middleton with 14 points, while adding five rebounds and four assists. The Greek Freak must have felt he was in a vise, notching only eight points in the half on 2-of-7 shooting.
The quarter stared badly for Boston. Antetokounpo made a 3-pointer, followed by another trey from Brook Lopez. Boston quickly countered, getting a huge boost from Playoff Al. At the 2:59 mark of the third period, he had 17 points, nine boards and an astounding five blocks. The following sequence was perfect. The period ended with the Celtics up by 17 points, 88-71. Aron Baynes suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury and went to the bench.
The Celtics were giving The Greek Freak everything he could handle down low, so he went back to taking 3-pointers - and he made two more. Boston will give him those all game long. The guys in green started taking over in the first half of the period and lead by 20 points with 6:38 to go in the game. At this juncture, Boston had scored 36 points in the paint to Milwaukee's 20.
Al was the star in this one, but the Celtics never took a play off and fought hard for every rebound - every loose ball. Kyrie was masterful out there, and the Kyrie/Al duo is vital for long-term post-season success. The Celts had a huge deficit on free throw attempts, taking only eight to Milwaukee's 24. The Celtics simply took control on the road against the team that finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA. Boston had four players score in double figures, led by Kyrie with 26 points, adding seven rebounds and 11 assists. Al finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. This was a terrific win by Boston. The team is coming together at the right time.