Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton were their normal selves, scoring 35 and 31 points off a combined 23-of-42 shooting, but Milwaukee needs another player to step up if it’s going to beat Boston. Competing in his first playoff game since 2013 with the Los Angeles Clippers, Eric Bledsoe didn’t perform well. He shot 4 of 12 from the field and finished with nine points, five turnovers and watched the final minute of overtime on the bench after fouling out.
So much for Brogdon’s minutes restriction
Milwaukee reportedly had a minutes restriction for Brogdon heading into Game 1. He played 32 minutes anyway -- and the Bucks needed every one. In a back-and-forth final minute of the fourth quarter, Brogdon knocked down a clutch 3 to tie the game at 96 with 11.1 seconds to play. He racked up 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, four rebounds, three assists and a steal, and the reigning Rookie of the Year continues to impress with his composure in the spotlight.
Series looks promising for Milwaukee
The Bucks need to win at least one game at the TD Garden if they’re going to get out of the first round. Game 1 certainly proved they are capable. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward out with injuries, the Bucks have the advantage in star power with Antetokounmpo. The Celtics can’t rely on third-year guard Terry Rozier to play out of his mind all series (23 points on four 3-pointers).
Milwaukee dominates the paint
The Bucks outscored Boston 58-44 in the paint. The Celtics had no answer for Giannis when he drove inside – and when they did stop him, Antetokounmpo would draw a foul and head to the free-throw line. Giannis, who shot 76 percent from the charity stripe this season, went 13 of 16 from the line but unfortunately fouled out in overtime after chasing down a rebound on a missed free throw with 13 seconds to play. Boston, however, grabbed 11 offensive rebounds -- an area in the paint the Bucks will want to clean up for Game 2.
Bucks go with short bench
Head coach Joe Prunty gave more playing time to stronger defensive players like Antetokounmpo, Brogdon, John Henson and Tony Snell, instead of giving Jabari Parker, who’s more of a scorer, significant minutes. Parker was on the floor for just 14 minutes, his lowest total in a game since returning to NBA action Feb. 2. Tyler Zeller played four minutes, and offensive sparkplug Shabazz Muhammad didn’t get off the bench.