The most surprising outcome of the game 1’s in the second round of the playoffs came from the Milwaukee versus Boston series. Boston stole home court advantage from Milwaukee in a 112-90 victory. The 22 point loss, was the third worse margin of defeat from a number one seed in game one of a series.
The outcome of this game was so surprising because of how the Bucks looked in round one. In Milwaukee’s 4-0 sweep of the Detroit Pistons they looked like the clear cut best team in the east.
Postgame Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said, “We were fortunate to be up 2 at halftime, and I thought we came out the gates good in the second half and played well from there on out. But this is a good team were playing against and this wasn’t there best game, were going to have to play awfully good on Tuesday and we know that.”
Heading into a must win Game 2, here are three adjustments Milwaukee must make in order to win.
Giannis Must Play Like the MVP
The number one reason for Boston’s victory in Game 1 was their defensive performance. In particular, the job they did collectively to hinder Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis’ performance appeared to the eye as one of his worse possibly all year.
The primary defender on Antetokounmpo was Al Horford. Antetokounmpo scored 22 points but was inefficient in doing so. Both his percentages from the free throw line and from the field were down 20 percent in game one.
We’ve seen Horford effect star players like this before, as he did last year in the playoffs versus Joel Embiid.
To go along with his poor shooting, Antetokounmpo wasn’t the playmaker he usually is. Giannis only finished the game with two assist (he averaged six during the regular season).
Here is FS1 Analyst Chris Broussard feelings on Giannis’ game one:
"The Celtics are capable of beating Milwaukee, Toronto, Houston. I'm still with Milwaukee, but this is gut-check time for Giannis Antetokounmpo. … Game 2 is a must-win." — @Chris_Broussard pic.twitter.com/2kNAN9rcq6
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) April 29, 2019
Milwaukee Must Score 100 points
Heading into Game 1 the Bucks scored over 100 points in every game during the playoffs. However, on Sunday, Boston held Milwaukee’s second highest scoring offense to only 90 points.
Only three Bucks players scored in double figures, and only two of those were starters. In order for the Bucks to bounce back they need Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe to play better. Lopez needs to shoot well in order to spread the floor, for Antetokounmpo to attack the rim.
Meanwhile, Bledsoe needs to keep his one-on-one matchup with Kyrie Irving competitive at least scoring wise. In addition, besides Nikola Mirotic there was no bench presence for Milwaukee.
Game 1 was the Bucks worse shooting performance in the playoffs thus far. Milwaukee only managed to shoot 35 percent from the field, and 33 percent from three.
“I think we missed alot of open shots, Boston did a great job of making it tough. We just got to find a way to continue to run our offense, play with pace and a lot of flow.” said Khris Middleton.
Force Others on Boston to Win the Game
Kyrie Irving was the catalyst offensively for the Celtics in game one. Irving finished with a statline of 26 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists. However, when Irving took a step back to let others score, the Celtics struggled to score.
Take for example during Milwaukee’s 15-0 run in the second quarter. Irving only had one shot attempt during the Bucks run, and Boston went scoreless for three minutes.
The Bucks defense must force the ball out of Irving’s hands and force the other Celtics to score. Forcing the ball out of his hands makes the other Celtics have to do something they’ve haven’t done all year, and thats consistency score.
Game two is a must win for the Bucks. They cannot head into games three and four in Boston already down 2-0 in the series.