The Milwaukee Bucks may have been the best team in the NBA during the regular season, but they looked like a deer in headlights in game 1 of their second round NBA playoff series against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
The Celtics ran away with a 112-90 victory over the Bucks at Fiserv Forum. It was the Bucks most lopsided loss of the season and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Certainly the Bucks have lost games before and bounced back nicely. They’ve also fallen behind big in games and were able to rebound. But you can sense that any large deficit’s followed by big comebacks are going to be hard to come by against this veteran Celtics team.
Boston played with a sense of urgency and rightfully so. When you go on the road in the NBA playoffs, you need to bring it or things won’t end well. Perhaps the Bucks needed more of that mentality as the home team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of his worst days as a pro, finishing 7 of 21 from the field, including 4 of 16 from inside the arc, to score 22 points. He also dished out just two assists, in part because his teammates couldn’t throw it in the ocean either. As a team, the Bucks shot just 35% from the field.
Kyrie Irving poured in 26 points and dished out 11 assists. Al Horford added 20 points and 11 rebounds and Jaylen Brown finished with 19 points. The Celtics shot 54% from the field.
The Bucks, despite playing poorly, trailed the Celtics by just two points at halftime. But the Celtics finished them off in the second half.
The Bucks had open looks that they couldn’t knock down. And at times, they struggled to get good looks.
But all will be forgotten if the Bucks can go back to the drawing board, find the answers they’re looking for and bounce back with a strong, winning performance in game two on Tuesday night. They’ve done it so many times before. Now the question is, can the Bucks find the answers against a tough Boston team.
One thing for certain is the Bucks lost home court advantage. To get it back, they’ll need to win all of their remaining home games and win at least one game in Boston. But that’s looking ahead. For now, it’s all about Tuesday night, a must win for the Bucks at Fiserv Forum.