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Celtics receive wakeup call as Bucks prevail in Game 1

It’s one thing to run through the dysfunctional Brooklyn Nets in a first-round sweep.

It’s quite another to play the defending champions in the second round.

The Milwaukee Bucks gave the Boston Celtics a lesson and a wake-up call in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Milwaukee stopped Boston 101-89, stealing home-court advantage in an impressive performance that gave notice.

Even without injured All-Star Khris Middleton, the Bucks remain a talented team capable of winning this series. There’s more to the Bucks than Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.

And another level is required to win. Some of the Celtics have been in this situation but not always with these expectations as the favorites to the win the series.

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GAME 1:Antetokounmpo’s second career playoff triple-double lifts Bucks past Celtics

ABC’s Doris Burke summed it up best late in the fourth quarter: The Bucks were tougher physically and better defensively, both points that Celtics coach Ime Udoka conceded after the game.

“Their physicality more so than anything caught us off guard,” Udoka said.

Milwaukee forced Boston to play into its defensive strengths, resulting in too many 3-point attempts (50) and turnovers (18 leading to 27 Bucks points), not enough points in the paint (20) and a low shooting percentage (33.3%) for the Celtics..

“We’re trying to get the best shot,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said. “You can say we should attack the basket more, and we probably should. But we got a lot of drive-and-kick 3s. You can get caught up in the numbers, but we got a lot of good shots.”

The Bucks increased their defensive pressure, often picking up the dribbler at half-court, and team defense held Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to 43 points and 30.9% shooting.

It’s a conundrum. The Bucks allow the most 3s per game in the league, they want the opponent to take 3s and are dedicated to protecting the paint. What may…

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Author : USA TODAY

Publish date : 2022-05-01 21:29:31

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