If the Milwaukee Bucks have any hopes of winning their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, they have to get defensive.
The Bucks, who were a poor defensive team for much of the regular season, were equally inept on the defensive end in Game 1 against the Celtics.
While many fans and some media members pointed the finger at Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe, he was, by no means, the only Bucks who didn’t show up Sunday on defense.
Across the board, the Bucks were horrible against a Celtics team that is hardly an offensive juggernaut. With their two best players – Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and key reserve Marcus Smart – all sidelined with injuries, the Celtics no longer have a big-time scoring threat.
In fact, going into Game 1, the Celtics’ leading scorer during the regular season was Jaylen Brown. He averaged a mundane 14.5 points. But Brown, and four other teammates, far exceeded their regular-season scoring average in Game 1.
- Brown had 20 points in Game 1 – 5.5 points above his average.
- Jayson Tatum had 19 points in Game 1– 5.1 points above his average.
- Terry Rozier had 23 points in Game 1 – 12 points above his average.
- Al Horford had 24 points in Game 1 – 11 above his average.
- Marcus Morris had 21 points in Game 1—7.4 points above his average.
Combine their above average point production in Game 1 and those five aforementioned Celtics were a whopping 41 points above their regular-season numbers.
Bucks need Parker
One of the most curious developments of Game 1 was Bucks coach Joe Prunty using Jabari Parker a mere 15 minutes.
It’s true Parker struggled offensively, going 1 for 5 from the field, but he also grabbed our rebounds. What’s more, Parker had been playing at a high level going into the playoffs.
In the Bucks’ final six games of the regular season, Parker averaged nearly a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Suffice to say, Parker needs to bounce back in a big way in Game 2 … and be given the necessary minutes to prove it.
In a hole
The Bucks will have to beat almost insurmountable odds to beat the Celtics in this series.
At least based on playoff history.
Since 1984, the winner of Game 1 overwhelmingly went on to win the series. In that span, Game 1 winners posted a 219-53 series record –or a winning percentage of .805.
And, if the Bucks would lose again tonight and go down 2-0?:
Well, all-time, teams that won the first two games of a best-of-seven series have won the series 93.5 percent of the time (273-19).
–– Photo by BILL TENNESSEN