Bucks 123, Celtics 116: Milwaukee takes it right at C's for Game 3 win

Bucks 123, Celtics 116: Milwaukee takes it right at C's for Game 3 win

The Bucks simply took it to the Celtics.

In this day and age of launching three-pointers and settling for jumpers, Milwaukee’s strategy was obvious and aggressive. For an entire second half the Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. pinned their ears back and took it right at a Celtics’ defense that had no answer other than to foul. The result was the visitors pulling away with a late-third-quarter surge which carried over into the fourth.

The end result? A 123-116 Game 3 win over the Bucks and a very uneasy TD Garden. (For a complete recap, click here.)

Antetokounmpo was no mystery, using his long strides and sturdy frame to knife to the basket almost at will. But he wasn’t alone. George Hill took advantage of the Celtics’ inability to put up any resistance in the paint, scoring 11 third-quarter points while helping his club to an eight-point advantage heading into the fourth after Boston had held a one-point lead at halftime.

The Milwaukee strategy not only allowed the Bucks to shoot 70 percent from the field in the pivotal third quarter but put them at the line 17 times in the quarter.

After the game, much of the talk had to do with how the referees were managing that third quarter.

“It’s a good question,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens when asked if his team lost focus in the third quarter because of the officiating. “I don’t know that that’s – I don’t know that that would be the case. I just think that ultimately they made a lot of plays in that quarter; we didn’t.  I thought we got a little deep on the drive, whereas in the first half I thought we were doing a really good job of getting to the right depth and then making the next right play.  We turned it over a few times; they got going in transition.  They got going downhill.  We weren’t quite as tight as – as we like to be, as, as loading up to the ball and making it tough to get downhill and keeping them off the foul line.  So you know if – if there’s anything, it’s just stuff we have to do better.”

Make no mistake about it, it didn’t hurt the Bucks cause that they went 6-for-8 from beyond the 3-point stripe in that third quarter, led by local boy Pat Connaughton (who equaled the point total for the entire Celtics’ bench with 14 points). But the three-pointers weren’t the decisive factor when it counted the most.

The Bucks’ ability to get to the rim was the difference.

Not helping matters for Brad Stevens’ team was its inability to duplicate Milwaukee’s propensity to take it the hole. Brook Lopez and Antetokounmpo each had a pair of blocks, but also served as part of a Bucks’ defensive strategy that wouldn’t let the likes of Kyrie Irving (27 points) and Gordon Hayward (8) get through the paint without significant difficulty.

Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 32 points, making 16 of his 22 foul shots while grabbing 13 rebounds.

The Bucks now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, with Game 4 taking place at TD Garden Monday night.

Full article @ Bucks 123, Celtics 116: Milwaukee takes it right at C’s for Game 3 win

Source: GreenStreet Blog

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