After a successful four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics came crashing back down to earth in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo and company put the smackdown on the Celtics, taking them down at TD Garden, 101-89.
Boston attempted 50 threes, a statistic that Antetokounmpo found amusing, and made 18 of them. Simultaneously, they only attempted 34 shots inside the three-point arc, converting on 10 of them. Milwaukee’s interior defense was constantly deterring the Celtics’ paint attack in Game 1.
And although the Celtics were able to hold Antetokounmpo to 9-of-25 shooting on the game, in large part thanks to big man Al Horford, their offense floundered its way to a lackluster performance. That was what ultimately cost them the win.
Spearheading the offensive struggles were Boston’s two stars. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown did not play up to their usual standards, and during his post-game press conference, head coach Ime Udoka had some strong words for the duo.
Udoka Calls Out Celtics Stars After Loss
After the game, Udoka spoke to the media about Boston’s performance. When discussing the performances of Tatum and Brown, the Celtics’ head coach kept things blunt. He said that they need to be better. End of story:
I think Jaylen and Jayson didn’t have their best night offensively. They missed some easy ones that we’re normally gonna make. And so, that combined, obviously, leads to those numbers.
In Game 1, Tatum played 39:45, putting up 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists in the process. The young superstar shot 6-of-18 from the field and 4-of-9 from behind the three-point line. Tatum didn’t really get things going until the second half, though, as he shot just 3-of-10 in the first two quarters.
Meanwhile, Brown struggled even more than his co-star did. In 38:00 of court time, Brown tallied just 12 points, nine rebounds, and four assists while shooting 4-of-13 from the field and 3-of-9 from behind the arc. The biggest issue with Brown, however, was the seven turnovers he notched.
These performances were huge steps down from how the pair played against the Nets in Round 1, and if the Celtics want to take down the reigning champs, their stars need to get back to how they were playing in the first round.
Tatum’s and Brown’s Stats in Round 1
The Celtics took down the Nets in four games in Round 1, but all of them were very close games. In fact, the Celtics only won the series by a cumulative total of 18 points. One of the big reasons they were able to close out the close games was the great play of their stars.
Tatum was on fire in the first round. In the four games, he averaged 29.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from deep. In addition, he took on the tall task of guarding Kevin Durant, who he effectively shut down.
As for Brown, while his three-point shooting numbers weren’t as good, he still played well against the Nets. He averaged 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 21.1 percent from range in Round 1.
Boston’s chances in the second round hinge on whether or not their two stars can get back to playing the level of basketball we’ve come to expect from them. Once they do that, the Celtics should be right back in it.