Playing without a point guard is apparently the tipping point. And even then, barely.
The Celtics have thrived through all manner of injury this season, but Tuesday night in Milwaukee provided a unique test. With Terry Rozier a late scratch with a sprained ankle, the C’s faced the Bucks without any of their primary ballhandlers.
That meant no Kyrie Irving (knee surgery), no Marcus Smart (thumb surgery), no Rozier, and no Shane Larkin (illness).
Rookie Kadeem Allen, who had spent all but 39 minutes in the G League, was the only point guard on the roster and hence got the start against a Bucks squad that boasts one of the 10 best players in the NBA (Giannis Antetokounmpo) and is fighting for seeding at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
The Celtics entered the game on an improbable six-game winning streak that included buzzer-beating wins over the Thunder and Jazz, as well as victories against the playoff-bound Blazers and Raptors.
With a win on Tuesday, the C’s could pull within a game of Toronto for first place in the conference, with a showdown looming on Wednesday night north of the border.
Sadly, the lack of depth finally caught up to Boston in a 106-102 loss to the Bucks. The Celtics rotated point guard responsibilities amongst Allen, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, and even power forward Greg Monroe.
All of those big men handling the ball made for some pretty ragged possessions, but true to their identity, the C’s hung tough throughout. Not until a replay review correctly reversed a goaltending call on the Greek Freak and turned it into a block of Brown was Milwaukee able to breathe easy against the undermanned C’s.
Brown led Boston with 24 points, while Tatum added 20. Monroe added nine points and 10 rebounds.
There’s no rest for the weary. Boston must travel to Toronto for the second half of the back-to-back on Wednesday and attempt to beat the Raptors on the floor where they’re a conference-leading 31-7.
The C’s trail Toronto by two games in the race for top seed, but with a win would own the tie-breaker.
Full article @ Bucks 106, Celtics 102: No point guard, and it almost didn’t matter in close loss
Source: GreenStreet Blog