The Bucks headed home to Milwaukee Tuesday night after an extremely disappointing 106-120 game 2 loss in Boston. Coming off an epic game one, where the Bucks turnovers and concession of offensive rebounds burnt them repeatedly, it was an unfortunately similar story to start out in game 2.
The Celtics raced out to another double digit lead in the first quarter,, as the Bucks gave the ball away seven times in the period. Second chance points again became a thorn in the Bucks side, as it was Boston who appeared more desperate to track down loose balls. A 13-0 run for Milwaukee tied the game at 35, as Shabazz Muhammad was inserted into the starting lineup and provided a spark of energy the Bucks so desperately needed. Unlike the first contest, Boston steadied to never let Milwaukee edge in front and closed out to hold a nine point lead at the main break.
The second half fizzled out into a one way contest, as the Celtics continued to push out the lead which reached 20 points with 7:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was the familiar faces of Boston from game one that torched Milwaukee again as Terry Rozier (19 points), Marcus Morris (19), Jaylen Brown (17) and Al Horford (14) were able to make a number of outrageous contested shots to keep the Bucks at bay.
With the win, Boston took care of home court and secured a vital 2-0 lead heading into game three. It moved Boston to 4-2 on the season against Milwaukee and now leaves the series hanging in the balance.
Giannis Antetokounmpo with 30 points nine rebounds eight assists, and Khris Middleton with 25 points were again outstanding for Milwaukee, but they need to be able to find multiple contributors. Taking the responsibility for the loss, the two Milwaukee stars were downcast but ready to move on after game two. Giannis keeping it simple when analysing what went wrong.
“I think as a team we didn’t show up tonight,” Antetokounmpo said.
On the injury front, John Henson is labelled as doubtful for tonights game with back soreness. Back issues are not a new thing for Henson, who has from time to time missed games with soreness. After averaging 25.9 minutes per game in the regular season, he has played 37 in each of the first two games in this series. With Tyler Zeller playing just ten minutes across the two games so far, the Bucks will be hoping Henson can get up to play.
After such an epic end to game one, that type of effort out the gate was disappointing and not overly expected. Now, Milwaukee return home, in front of what will be a rabid Bradley Center crowd looking to help it’s team get back into this first round series.
Game three tips off at 8:30PM CST.
Kane’s Keys To Victory:
- Put up or shut up: Two key components of what was expected to be a competitive Milwaukee team in this series are Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker. Through two games, both have been major disappointments. Despite their poor play, both guys made interesting comments in the fall out from game two. Bledsoe has been taken to the cleaners by Terry Rozier so far. When Matt Velazquez asked him post-game whether he takes that personally, Bledsoe responded “I don’t even know who the f*** that is”. Jabari Parker on the other hand has shown very little effort on defense and had no impact offensively which has resulted in him only getting 12 minutes per game in Boston. Parker expressed his disappointment about his reduced role at Milwaukee practice on Thursday. Whenpressed on what he can do to get more playing time, Parker’s response was interesting. “Be on my coach’s good side. Whatever that is, just try to be on the good side.” He said. No, Jabari, you can earn playing time by showing effort on defense and turning up ready to play. The Bucks need Bledsoe and Jabari in game three, they’ve put the pressure on themselves, and now they need to back up the talk.
- Correct first quarter woes: In game one the Bucks were down 12 at the end of the first. In game two they were down 11. This hasn’t been due to Boston tearing out of the gates ready to destroy the Bucks, it’s been Milwaukee destroying themselves. 15 turnovers across those two first quarters has allowed Boston endless opportunities to score and had the TD Garden rocking early. Now the series moves to Milwaukee, and the Bradley Center will be at fever pitch come 8:30PM. Milwaukee need to ensure they give the crowd something to get excited about early and carry the momentum through the night. The Bucks had more turnovers in the first quarter than Boston did for the whole night game two. That’s not good enough.
- Find the range from three: Outside of the red hot Khris Middleton, the Bucks offense has been anaemic from beyond the arc. Milwaukee have made just SIX three point shots outside of Middleton so far. Tony Snell, Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker, Matthew Dellavedova and Jason Terry need to start connecting from deep to give this offense the spacing it needs. Overall the Bucks have attempted just 38 triples and when you have a superstar like Giannis working overtime for every bucket in the paint, you’ve just got to make his life easier in any way possible. Hopefully some home cooking allows Milwaukee to find the range.
Follow Kane Pitman on twitter: @mkebucksaus