In a desperate game 3 in their home stadium, the Milwaukee Bucks came out and destroyed the Boston Celtics to reduce the Celtics series lead to 2: 1.
The Milwaukee Bucks were a popular disappointment. Round series against the Boston Celtics, and the Bucks finally showed why with a dominating 116-92 Game 3 win on Friday night. The Celtics are still leading the series 2-1, but Milwaukee is now more confident and has a good chance of tying the series to Match 4 on Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps the presence of new minority owner Aaron Rodgers brought the Bucks some luck, but whatever the case, they played with the necessary despair as they tried to dig out of a hole. Milwaukee started the game with a new line-up, thanks to John Henson's back injury and Tony Snell's ineffectiveness, with Tyler Zeller and Malcolm Brogdon taking their places. While Zeller and Brogdon had a total of indefinite games, the Bucks came as a unit used and led in the middle of the first quarter 1
Milwaukee never took his foot off the gas. The Bucks held the Celtics at 12 points in the first quarter, taking a 58-35 before the break. Boston finally found its offensive in the third quarter and seemed on the verge of making one of his patented runs, but Milwaukee had an answer every time and ultimately ran away with the easy win.
Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo continue the individual excellence they have shown in this series. Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He shot 10 of 17 off the field and collected jumpers from all over the floor. Antetokounmpos's numbers had fallen by his standards, but he still scored 19 points, six assists and five rebounds. He even knocked down three triples and did so:
The Greek Freak and Middleton finally got help. Milwaukee shot 57.7 percent and hit 16 3-pointers, while three other players scored in the double-digit range. The Bucks also shot the ball only nine times after being extremely sloppy in Boston.
The Celtics offensive regressed against a valiant Bucks defense. The Celtics scored an attacking score of 113.2 in their first two games in Boston, but due to their injury situation they were due for a Down game. While there was a natural return to the mean, the defense of the Bucks deserves much credit.
Milwaukee's aggressive, volatile defense forced Boston into many ugly shots and turnovers to start the game. The Bucks also made it a point to keep the post office from missing at counters, which helped soften the Celtics' offense. Boston shot just 30.8 percent out of the field in the first half and turned it more than 14 times. The Celtics turned the ball over 18 times for the game, resulting in 20 Bucks points.
Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier had much calmer games after their Boston explosions, with Rozier managing only nine points and five after coughing making it zero in the first two games. Brown had some clever pails, but he only had 11 points in 4-of-9 shooting.
The Bucks as a team played a great defensive game, but youngster Thon Maker offered a particularly big lifter after he had barely played Serie. Without Henson, Joe Prunty turned to Maker as the backup center behind Zeller, and the young, tall man blocked five shots and changed countless others in his 24-minute work. Milwaukee blocked 13 shots in the night.
The Bank of the Bucks provided a tremendous elevator. The Master was not only great at defense. He poured 14 points and spread the ground, hitting three of his four 3-point attempts. He also tried seven throws and was a team-best plus-23.
In addition to maker, Jabari Parker delivered quality minutes from the bank to express frustration with his limited role. While Parker only combined 25 minutes in matches 1 and 2 for one reason, he also played 30 minutes in match 3 for one reason.
The young striker was more aggressively offensive, scoring 17 points on 7 of 12 shootings. He circled the basket with authority and made all six of his shots on the edge. He also scored seven straight points during an important third-tier leg when Giannis went down and threatened the Celtics.
Plus, Parker showed much more effort at the defensive end and was not a complete sieve. That's a huge win, and the Bucks should be thrilled that Parker has finally found his groove.
Snell and Matthew Dellavedova also contributed, with Dellavedova playing his typically pesky defense against the Celtics guards.
Welcome to the series, Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe was a disaster in Game 1 and was not much better in Game 2. Not only was he bad on the court, but he was roasted for his comments on Rozier.
Bledsoe eventually got better from Rozier in Game 3. The Bucks Guard brought consistent energy and made better decisions. He had 17 points on 8 of 13 shoots to go with four assists and four rebounds while he shot the ball only once.
Bledsoe made it a point during the game to fuel the harsh indigenous crowd, and this is the version of the electric protection Milwaukee must see moving forward. If the Bucks win this series, Rozier will not over-excite him. This was an important step in the right direction.