Recap: Celtics fight back from 19 point deficit to win 116-105 over Bucks
Jayson Tatum high fives Celtics' legend Paul Pierce on the sidelines after knocking down a big three-pointer late in the third. Photo via @Celtics on Twitter
I'm not going to lie to you, it's been a pretty long time since I've seen a Celtics comeback like that and I couldn't be happier. After what was a miserable first half for the Celtics' it looked like things were trending towards a loss and Boston evening up their record at 2-2 for the season, and then the third quarter came. I don't know what the hell happened at half time, but the Celtics looked like a completely different team in every sense of the word.
After struggling on both ends throughout the duration of the first half, Boston came out aggressive at the start of the second when they were down 58-42. From there on out, it was highlight play after highlight play from all their star players which made up a 22-5 run that tipped the scales in our favor.
Starting in place of Jaylen Brown (who unfortunately had to sit tonight due to illness) Marcus Smart had a big night for Boston, playing a major spark role in their comeback. He totaled 19 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds in 38 minutes on the court. He also had an influence on Giannis Antetokounmpo's relatively quiet scoring night (22 points some of which came in garbage time).
After a somewhat slower start, Kemba Walker was one of the biggest x-factors in the second half, especially in the 4th quarter. He finished the night with 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. He also managed to get to the free-throw line for 15 shot attempts in which he knocked down 14 (93.3%). Not to mention a pretty notable crossover on the reigning MVP of the league that took place in peak rowdiness of the TD Garden.
Jayson Tatum looked spectacular in the second half as well, hitting some big-time shots in big-time moments. He managed to put 25 points on the board for the C's while grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out a couple of assists. There was also a really cool passing of the torch type moment between Tatum and Celtics legend Paul Pierce (who was in attendance at courtside) after the 21-year-old hit a big three-pointer at the end of the third quarter to cap off their dominating run.
Perhaps the biggest second-half difference in individual play for the Celtics came from Gordon Hayward, who in my opinion was one of, if not the worst player on the floor in the first half. However, during their comeback, he looked completely different. For the first time in a Celtics uniform, Hayward tallied more than 20 points (21 pts) and 10 rebounds. In addition to that, he had a near triple-double with 7 assists as well.
While I did mention before that the Celtics managed to somewhat contain Giannis, he still had a very solid outing with 22 points on 61.5% shooting, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. But when the Bucks needed him most, he was not the one that stepped up. The player that managed to keep Milwaukee in the game as much as he could during the Celtics' massive run was Khris Middleton, who shot 10-15 (66.7%) from the field and had 26 points when the final buzzer sounded.
With all that said, tonight's win was certainly a team effort from top to bottom and very reminiscent of all of those 20+ point comebacks we saw in the days of the underdog Celtics lead by Isaiah Thomas. Hopefully, they can keep the type of play consistent as we get deeper into the season and continue to work as a team in order to win these statement games.