The series between the Bucks and Celtics (1-1) is being a real battle between two candidates for the ring. Defenses have made the difference so far in these first two games and the adjustments towards the upcoming matches can tip the balance for any of the two teams.
Game 1: Anteto makes the difference (101-89)
Milwaukee displayed a wall in the paint when defending. Brook López is decisive in these kind of approaches and allows Antetokounmpo to jump into defensive assistance. The idea is clear, to protect the paint and force the Celtics to abuse of exterior shooting.
Giannis looked for offensive penetrations that would let him to score or take the ball out in order to find free throws. He finished the game with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. This is the second triple-double of his career in the Playoffs. In the absence of Middleton, Jrue Holiday took a step forward and had a discrete but brilliant performance.
Whenever Boston tried to approach in the scoreboard, Jrue took care of bury them even deeper helping out in defense, scoring easy middle distance throws even battling against bigger defenders than him. He ended with 25 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. A difference maker performing.
The accuracy from Boston on triples was very poor. They attempted 50 and missed 32, which is the worst game of the season on field goals shooting (33,3%) and the one with the lowest scoring (89 points). Jaylen Brown had a disastrous game and lost seven balls, which four of them turned into counterattacks for the Bucks.
Game 2: Celtics are back on track (86-109)
Jaylen Brown wanted to get rid of his bad feelings from the first game right away by scoring 17 points only in the first quarter and being the expected offensive threat along with Tatum. The great start from Boston surprised the current champions and they saw themselves overcome offensively.
The defense of Celtics corrected regarding to the first game and they focused on a defense from Grant Williams and Al Horford on Antetokounmpo so the rest of the team could cover up more effectively the rest of the players in the perimeter. This translated into a 3/18 in triples for the Bucks, their lowest accuracy stat since 2016.
This defense from Boston added to their high accuracy offensively (20/43 on triples) gave them the win and the draw in the series. The key for the Celtics to win these series is going to rely on seeing if they are capable of being so effective and defending this way Giannis throughout the entire series. For now, the Celtics dominate the triples and the Bucks the zone and middle distance. Now it is time to travel to Milwaukee.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @NBA.
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