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‘Celtics’ Tagged Posts

Bucks maintain off Celtics’ rally, drive Recreation 7

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MILWAUKEE — Celtics coach Brad Stevens walked into the makeshift interview room after his staff’s 97-86 Recreation 6 loss to the Bucks was full. He took a seat in a folding chair and squinted into the group of reporters.

“Sorry, I can’t hardly see up right here,” he mentioned earlier than the questioning started. “Shiny lights.”

However for the Celtics, the focus will now get even brighter. That they had wished to keep away from a Recreation 7. That they had wished to return to the Bradley Heart, shut out this collection, and begin enthusiastic about the subsequent one, a convention semifinal matchup towards the 76ers.

BOX SCORE: BUCKS 97, CELTICS 86

However this Milwaukee staff was a nuisance on its house court docket on this collection, and the Celtics merely couldn’t discover a solution to do something about it. So now Recreation 7, which will likely be performed Saturday at TD Backyard, is right here, and the Celtics determine they could as nicely profit from it.

4 present Celtics have been on the staff final 12 months, when Kelly Olynyk guided Boston to a stirring Recreation 7 house win over the Wizards within the convention semifinals. Terry Rozier smiled Thursday when he recalled that matchup. Jaylen Brown cited it, too.

“It’s loopy,” Brown mentioned, “and I anticipate nothing in need of an incredible efficiency from everyone.”

“Recreation 7 in TD Backyard is what you play for,” Stevens mentioned. “It must be what you’re excited most about. What you labored for all summer time, what you labored for all 12 months. It’s a blast.”

After Thursday’s recreation loud, raucous chants of “Bucks in 7” rung by means of the Bradley Heart’s corridors. This ageing constructing will quickly by changed by the glowing new one that’s being constructed throughout the road, however the followers listed here are hopeful the lights is not going to exit simply but.

Contained in the Celtics’ locker room after the loss, the scene was rather more subdued. Gamers scrolled by means of their cellphones and mentioned little or no. But it surely didn’t take them lengthy to maneuver on, as a result of actually, there was no different selection.

“We did lose, nevertheless it’s not all dangerous,” ahead Marcus Morris mentioned. “We get to go house and play in entrance of our followers. Recreation 7 in Boston I heard is admittedly loopy. So I’m excited.”

In fact, enjoyable and wild and thrilling is okay. However now one different, much less snug fact has crept up on the second-seeded Celtics. In the event that they lose, their season will likely be over. And although their season has been ravaged by accidents, being despatched house by seventh-seeded Milwaukee would nonetheless be a disappointing and dispiriting finish.

On Thursday, the Celtics have been undone by lengthy stretches wherein the offense was stagnant, with particular person gamers selecting dribbles over crisp passes. Boston shot simply 37 p.c from the ground and 27.Eight p.c from past the Three-point line. The Bucks, in the meantime, raced upcourt at each alternative and scored 25 factors in transition.

Stevens mentioned these points should be fastened by Saturday, however he additionally cautioned that it’s not at all times so simple as it sounds.

“I don’t wish to act like we are able to management every part that we’re speaking about,” he mentioned. “[The Bucks] did stuff to us that was very, very efficient. They’re very athletic, they’re excellent. This has been the identical story for probably the most half right here for the three video games. They simply bodily dominated us, I believe.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was held to 16 factors on 10 shot makes an attempt in Recreation 5, returned to his dominant type in Recreation 6, tallying 31 factors on 13-of-23 taking pictures whereas grabbing 14 rebounds. Teammate Khris Middleton, in the meantime, continued to make it look like he can not miss.

He made 7 of Eight pictures on Thursday — together with each of his Three-pointers — and is now taking pictures 59.6 p.c from the sphere and 62.5 p.c on Three-pointers on this collection.

With Boston main early within the second quarter, 31-24, Milwaukee started to search out alternatives in transition whereas the Celtics have been unable to search out a lot of something. The Bucks closed the half with a robust 24-Eight run to take a 48-39 result in the break.

The Bucks outscored Boston in fast-break conditions within the first half, 18-Zero.

A Three-point play by Malcolm Brogdon and a pull-up Three-pointer by Middleton stretched Milwaukee’s result in 55-41 with 9:37 left within the third, resulting in a Boston timeout and questions on whether or not this recreation would flip right into a blowout.

However very similar to in Recreation four, when the Celtics rallied from a 20-point deficit, they surged again. They rallied by attacking the rim totally free throws and layups, significantly after Bucks shot blocker Thon Maker went to the bench together with his fourth foul with 7:46 left.

The Celtics scored on 9 consecutive possessions, and a layup by Jayson Tatum (22 factors) tied the rating at 61 with four:21 to play. They couldn’t fairly take the lead, although, because the Bucks used a 6-Zero flurry and took a 74-65 result in the fourth.

Maker reentered the sport with 9:19 left, however simply 16 seconds later collected his fifth foul when Brown made him chunk on a pump pretend on a Three-pointer. With Maker again on the bench, Boston closed to inside 81-78. Brown’s Three-pointer to tie it rimmed out, although, and the Bucks obtained a nook three from Brogdon that stretched the lead again to six with 5:22 left. The Celtics would rating simply Three factors over the subsequent 4 minutes.

“After they’re not scoring, we’ve got to attain,” Brown mentioned. “Everyone has to take a bit of that for Recreation 7 and are available out and do what we do. Can’t grasp our heads. Recreation 7, let’s play it.”

Associated Slideshow: Better of the 2018 NBA playoffs (offered by picture providers)

Apr 26, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the third quarter in game six of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center. 2018 NBA playoffs

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Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics wing, ‘performed with large spirit’ vs. Milwaukee Bucks, per Brad Stevens

 

MILWAUKEE — Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum won’t ever have the ability to keep away from comparisons to at least one one other, which is a disgrace as a result of the Boston Celtics’ younger wings are extra enjoyable when seen as a tandem.

As an illustration: Tatum’s Three-pointers to shut the hole between the Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday have been large photographs, quieting a raucous Milwaukee crowd and shutting the Bucks’ result in a extra manageable margin. Late within the fourth quarter, Tatum’s crossover-into-a-pull-up jumper over Khris Middleton gave the Celtics a one-point lead with 52.5 seconds remaining and capped off a formidable rally from 20-points down.

None of that, nevertheless, would have been doable with out Brown’s heroics prior. With out Brown, the Celtics’ Sport four coffin might need been hammered, nailed, lowered and coated earlier than the Bucks’ mascot may pummel an inflatable Celtics mascot at halftime.

“He is the one cause we have been within the recreation within the first,” Brad Stevens stated. “After which within the second, he simply continued and did an awesome job. Performed with large spirit, performed with large toughness and made photographs. Saved us in it.”

Nonetheless, the comparisons. Brown completed with 34 factors on 13-for-24 capturing and 5-for-Eight from behind the arc. He confirmed poise driving into the paint on a late financial institution shot and hit a triple from a step-and-a-half behind the arc. In transition, he attacked Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chest — going proper on the Bucks star and driving him backward earlier than ending with both hand. Within the face of Milwaukee’s switching, swarming strain, Brown was the workforce’s greatest participant.

In final 12 months’s playoffs, Brown was a bit piece. He obtained a DNP-CD within the Chicago collection and topped 20 minutes simply as soon as towards Washington. Between Video games 5 and 6, Brown performed 37 minutes and tried simply eight photographs, lacking all of them. Brown scored a playoff-high 19 factors towards Cleveland within the Jap Convention Finals, however he was minimally impactful.

A 12 months appears to have made a giant distinction. Tatum seems extra prepared for the postseason than Brown was as a rookie (though Stevens would by no means admit to it), however Brown’s 12 months of expertise has turned him from a bit participant into the workforce’s main postseason scorer at 23.Eight factors per recreation.

“Jaylen was nice,” Al Horford stated. “His vitality on protection actually translated to the offensive finish. Hit some very robust photographs and had a number of well timed performs. That is encouraging to see.”

Brown — who dressed slowly within the locker room and was visibly upset on the podium after the sport — deflected any reward.

“My teammates discovered me in open spots,” he stated merely, when requested about his large evening. “I hit some photographs.”

The Celtics will proceed to have lulls as a result of Brown and Tatum are anticipated to take action a lot. They’re as outdated as Vince Carter mixed, and Tatum performed his 100th playoff minute in Sport Three. The dearth of expertise will proceed to crop up every now and then.

However with the collection headed again to Boston, each could have a possibility to shoot, go and defend in additional snug quarters. Collectively, they will create lineups which might be arduous to attain on, and so they assist rework Boston’s offense when they’re on the court docket collectively. With Brown and Tatum within the recreation on the identical time within the postseason (an admittedly small pattern measurement), the Celtics have an offensive score of 121.four.

The remaining two quarters in Milwaukee have been an instance.

“I believe we simply performed extra free and quick, and drove it to the outlet, kicking it out,” Tatum stated. “That helped us out lots.”

So how will Tatum and Brown method Sport 5? 

“Similar mindset we had coming into this recreation,” Brown stated. “We simply did not see it carry over within the second half. Now now we have to take that very same battle for Sport 5 and are available out victorious, in any respect prices.”

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2018 NBA playoffs: James Harden appears like an MVP in win over T-Wolves; Thunder, Pacers, Celtics all win

 

Can Chris Paul and James Harden overcome the pressures of being favorites in these playoffs? (Troy Taormina/USA Right now Sports activities)

The primary spherical of the NBA playoffs continues at the moment with 4 extra Sport 1s. Comply with alongside right here for the most recent evaluation and commentary from The Publish’s NBA reporter Tim Bontemps, and ask him questions within the feedback part.

Schedule and outcomes | Odds | Pregame studying | Feedback part Q&A

James Harden appears like an MVP in win over Timberwolves

There was an enormous debate within the closing days of the NBA’s common season over whether or not LeBron James might surpass James Harden for the NBA’s MVP award.

Harden’s play Sunday, nonetheless, confirmed why he ought to win the award.

In a recreation that was there for the Minnesota Timberwolves to steal (extra on that in a second) Harden’s ridiculous efficiency — 44 factors on 15-for-26 capturing with eight assists — ensured that the Houston Rockets wouldn’t allow them to accomplish that, and claimed a 104-101 victory in Sport 1 consequently.

That stated, Chris Paul did his greatest to attempt to give the sport again to Minnesota anyway.

Capping a really depressing recreation (14 factors on 14 pictures, 4 assists and 6 turnovers), Paul threw an insane go that went out of bounds with 9 seconds left when all he needed to do was maintain the ball, get fouled and make a free throw to seal the win for Houston. As a substitute, he gave the ball again to the Timberwolves down three, with an opportunity to tie the sport.

In a recreation of horrible one-upmanship within the remaining seconds, Jimmy Butler then introduced the ball up and — with Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni telling his workforce to foul, and them ignoring him — Butler flung up a turnaround jumper along with his foot over the three-point line (which means it will have been a two) that didn’t come near getting into.

It was a becoming finish to a chaotic remaining 15 seconds of what was an in any other case very entertaining recreation — one which Harden made certain his Rockets got here away from victorious.

Rockets have the burden of being favorites

The stress is on the Houston Rockets.

Getting into the playoffs, no workforce had extra expectations heaped on it than Houston, which has been put in as the primary credible challenger to Golden State since Kevin Durant left Oklahoma Metropolis for the Bay Space.

With these expectations come a necessity for the Rockets to again them up — and that’s with a star backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul, who’ve their very own historical past of playoff struggles.

Harden (31 factors, seven assists) has confirmed up thus far. Paul? Not a lot (12 factors on 14 pictures, plus three assists and 4 turnovers). Lose this recreation, and all of the questions on how this workforce will maintain up when the stress mounts will come flooding again.

Why isn’t Karl-Anthony Cities extra concerned within the T-wolves offense?

Anybody watching the TNT broadcast of Rockets-Timberwolves can hear Chris Webber dropping his thoughts each time Karl-Anthony Cities fails to reap the benefits of a change with a smaller defender on him. The “Inside The NBA” crew stated the identical factor at halftime.

They’ve a degree.

A relentless criticism of the Timberwolves all season has been the workforce’s incapacity to get Cities extra concerned within the offense. Cities is kind of probably probably the most gifted offensive large man within the historical past of the game, with the power to attain from the rim to properly past the three-point arc.

So how is it that he solely has six factors on eight pictures — the identical or lower than Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose?

Minnesota, which finds itself trailing 76-72 after three quarters, wants that to alter if it needs to tug off the Sport 1 upset.

Clint Capela is Houston’s X issue

In relation to the Houston Rockets, there’s — understandably — plenty of discuss James Harden and Chris Paul and quantity three-point capturing.

However what sums up why the Rockets are main midway via Sport 1 towards the Minnesota Timberwolves — and why I picked them to win in 4 video games — is the play of Clint Capela.

Houston’s middle — who’s going to receives a commission handsomely as a restricted free agent this summer time — has 20 factors, 10 rebounds and two blocked pictures at halftime, partnering with Harden to relentlessly batter the Timberwolves into submission within the pick-and-roll.

Anybody who watched Minnesota’s remaining common season recreation towards the Denver Nuggets might see how a lot hassle Minnesota had stopping Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic within the pick-and-roll. And, for nearly as good as these guys are, Houston is on one other degree totally.

The Rockets have confirmed that thus far tonight – and that’s why they lead 54-47 at halftime.

Westbrook, George shine in Thunder’s win over Jazz

Paul George is offering the increase the Thunder wanted. (Mark D. Smith/USA Right now Sports activities)

Donovan Mitchell performed properly in his playoff debut — however not properly sufficient to get a win.

That’s as a result of Paul George (36 factors) and Russell Westbrook (29 factors, 13 rebounds and eight assists) had been far an excessive amount of for Mitchell’s Utah Jazz to deal with, as his 27 factors got here in a dropping effort in what turned a 116-108 victory for the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.

Whether or not the mixture of Westbrook and George can be sufficient for the Thunder shifting ahead stays to be seen. There are also accidents to George, who was sitting out the ultimate couple of minutes getting his again labored on, Mitchell (left foot) and Thunder Middle Steven Adams’s proper hand/arm to observe shifting ahead.

However the playoffs are the time for stars to shine — and Westbrook and George shone brightest Sunday, permitting Oklahoma Metropolis to strike first on this sequence.

Paul George is a bona fide second famous person 

The Thunder had been a wonderful workforce final 12 months, powered to a playoff berth due to clutch heroics all season lengthy by Russell Westbrook. However what Oklahoma Metropolis lacked was a real second famous person that made them a contender — the type it had when Kevin Durant was nonetheless on the town.

Paul George is that type of participant — and he’s taking part in prefer it Sunday evening.

With 36 factors — together with a buzzer-beating jumper to finish the third quarter — George has the Jazz on the ropes in Sport 1 and is delivering in each method the Thunder might’ve hoped for once they traded for him final summer time.

This offers you a glimpse of what the Thunder might be over the subsequent few years if George decides to remain in Oklahoma Metropolis alongside Russell Westbrook. There are different issues that should be executed with the roster, however that’s not a foul basis to construct from.

Rudy Gobert has 4 fouls. That’s dangerous information for the Jazz.

The Utah Jazz has entered into harmful territory. Not solely is Utah trailing by 9 late within the third, however star middle Rudy Gobert simply went to the bench with 4 fouls.

Whereas Carmelo Anthony has cooled off since his scorching begin, Paul George has been wonderful, scoring 26 factors and pulling down six three-pointers. And whereas the Thunder solely have 16 factors from gamers not named Anthony, George or Russell Westbrook, towards a workforce like Utah that isn’t going to fly up and down and put up enormous numbers, that’s a components the Thunder can get away with.

That’s significantly true if Gobert can stay principally neutralized. Steven Adams has the power to trigger issues for almost any large within the league due to his immense energy, and he’s doing so at the moment.

Thunder’s Large Three reply to early Jazz run

After a tough begin, issues have stabilized for the Thunder — and their Large Three are the explanation why.

Early within the second quarter, Russell Westbrook (12 factors), Carmelo Anthony (9) and Paul George (12) have scored 33 of Oklahoma Metropolis’s 40 factors, powering what’s a 36-18 run for Oklahoma Metropolis that’s allowed the Thunder to erase an early 12-point deficit and regain the lead.

That is precisely the type of efficiency that was envisioned by Oklahoma Metropolis when it united the three all-stars final offseason. If it could proceed like this through the postseason, the Thunder can be feeling good about their probabilities.

Donovan Mitchell displaying no rookie jitters early

The expectation heading into Sport 1 of Thunder-Jazz was that Paul George could be spending his time hounding Utah’s star rookie, Donovan Mitchell.

As a substitute, George began on Joe Ingles, and Corey Brewer obtained the project of guarding Mitchell. Up to now, it’s not figuring out too properly for Oklahoma Metropolis.

Not solely are the Thunder down 16-Four early at house, however Mitchell is a Four for Four for 9 factors early on. A lot for him trying like a rookie taking part in on an enormous stage as his workforce’s go-to scorer.

Mix that with some beautiful inside passing that’s arrange Jazz Middle Rudy Gobert for a number of dunks, and the Thunder rapidly discover themselves having a variety of work to just do to get again into this recreation.

Pacers win; LeBron James’s supporting solid struggles

The primary actually stunning results of the playoffs has occurred, because the Indiana Pacers went into Cleveland and stomped the Cavaliers, 98-80.

Victor Oladipo continued his excellent season for the Pacers, scoring 32 factors, whereas Indiana — which was 25th in three-pointers made this season — made 11 threes as a workforce, whereas the Cavaliers went Eight for 34. Any recreation on this sequence that the Pacers are going to outscore the Cavaliers from three goes to be a recreation that Indiana ought to emerge from with a win.

The key speaking level after this recreation, regardless of the missed pictures, can be concerning the supporting solid round LeBron James struggling. Jeff Inexperienced, named the beginning energy ahead for the playoffs, went scoreless and missed seven pictures in 26 minutes. Kevin Love solely obtained eight pictures and completed with 9 factors. The beginning backcourt of George Hill and Rodney Hood each had been ineffectual.

Apart from J.R. Smith (15 factors) off the bench, Cleveland didn’t get a lot of something from anybody. That might want to change in a rush.

Sabonis poster? Sabonis poster!

Right here is our Dunk of the Day: Domantas Sabonis cracking one throughout Kevin Like to culminate what has been an amazing Sport 1 efficiency by Indiana in what needs to be a series-opening win over Cleveland.

LeBron James preserving Cavs afloat

Principally nothing has gone proper in Sport 1 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers are 10 for 18 from the foul line. They’ve gone 7 for 26 from three-point vary. None of their starters moreover LeBron James are in double-figures.

But, regardless of all of that, the Cavaliers are solely down by eight after three quarters. James (20 factors, seven rebounds, 10 assists) will doubtless get a triple-double, however Cleveland will want extra from its supporting solid if it’s going to full this comeback and win.

One good adjustment from Cavaliers Coach Tyronn Lue: going away from Jeff Inexperienced, who has been terrible (Zero for Four and a minus-Eight in 21 minutes) in favor of Larry Nance as Cleveland obtained again into the sport within the third. I’d anticipate extra of that within the fourth, and because the sequence strikes ahead.

Jeff Inexperienced and Kevin Love have three complete factors at half

Cleveland’s resolution to begin the playoffs taking part in Jeff Inexperienced at energy ahead and Kevin Love at middle was supposed to assist the Cavaliers proceed with the type of offensive manufacturing they’ve had all season.

That’s why Cleveland’s greatest downside within the first half – which sees them trailing the Indiana Pacers 55-38 – is that Inexperienced and Kevin Love have gone 1 for six from the sphere for 3 factors. That merely isn’t going to be adequate — not towards the Pacers, and positively not towards the higher groups Cleveland is predicted to face later within the playoffs.

The actual fact the Cavaliers have gone 2 for 14 from three-point vary and 6 for 11 from the foul line hasn’t helped, both.

Few groups can get scorching sooner than Cleveland, so it will be silly for anybody to assume this recreation is over. But when the Cavaliers can’t get their offense in gear — and, particularly, begin getting extra from Love and Inexperienced — this might get ugly.

Cavs struggling on offense to begin

The Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled on protection all season. That wasn’t anticipated to alter through the playoffs. What has been a continuing, although, is Cleveland’s offense with the ability to rating on anybody.

That’s what made the opening quarter of the Cavs’ sequence towards the Indiana Pacers so stunning. Whereas Indiana getting scorching and scoring 33 factors isn’t all that stunning, it was jarring to see the Cavaliers put up simply 14 within the first quarter, whereas committing seven turnovers and going 5 for 20 from the sphere, together with Zero for Eight from three-point vary.

“We did a great job of preserving them out of transition,” Pacers Coach Nate McMillan stated throughout his between-quarters interview on ABC.

Cleveland has the power to get scorching in a rush, and certain will within the second quarter. However this was a jarring begin — and a much-needed early confidence increase for an underdog Pacers workforce on the highway.

Celtics down the Bucks, 113-107, in additional time

It wasn’t simple, however Boston managed to outlive Sunday, profitable 113-107 in additional time over Milwaukee to take Sport 1 of their best-of-7 sequence.

Boston compelled 20 turnovers (that became 27 Celtics factors) and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, permitting the injury-ravaged Celtics to create simply sufficient offense to outlive an upset bid by the seventh-seeded Bucks.

Milwaukee did get enormous performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo (35 factors, 13 rebounds and 7 assists earlier than fouling out) and Khris Middleton (31 factors, eight rebounds and 6 assists) however Eric Bledsoe was terrible (9 factors, 4 assists and 5 turnovers earlier than fouling out) and the Bucks outdoors of Middleton mixed to shoot Three-for-14 from three.

A wild ending to regulation

Bucks-Celtics was billed as an evenly matched sequence due to Boston’s myriad accidents. So it’s becoming that this sequence will function the primary additional time recreation of the 2018 NBA playoffs.

After Terry Rozier fully embarrassed Eric Bledsoe to hit what seemed to be the game-winning three-pointer with Zero.5 seconds left, Khris Middleton answered with a 3 of his personal from about 40 toes away to tie the sport on the buzzer – and solely after a replay evaluation confirmed the shot had left his hand simply within the nick of time to rely.

Middleton and Giannis Antetokounpo have carried the day with 62 factors thus far – permitting the Bucks to remain within the recreation regardless of an terrible efficiency from Bledsoe. Three gamers are in double-figures for Boston, led by 22 factors for Al Horford.

Who will emerge because the Robin to their star’s Batman?

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most effective participant on this sequence. Al Horford is the second-best. Neither of these info are in dispute.

The place this sequence will doubtless be determined, although, is in who’re the third- and fourth-best gamers. There are candidates on either side: Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe for Milwaukee, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for Boston.

Up to now on this recreation, it’s a combined bag – which is why it’s a 70-66 lead via three quarters. Middleton has been glorious for Milwaukee, scoring 21 factors on Eight-for-13 capturing. Bledsoe, alternatively, has been terrible (4 factors on 2-for-9, plus three assists and three turnovers). For Boston, Brown has 16 factors, and Tatum has 13 – together with an enormous three-pointer on the finish of the third.

The higher of these duos within the fourth quarter will doubtless resolve this one.

A Kyrie Irving-shaped gap for the Celtics

There have been loads of fears concerning the Celtics with the ability to rating with out Kyrie Irving within the playoffs.

These fears are being realized within the second quarter.

Boston is now 2 for 16 with 4 turnovers within the second quarter — permitting Milwaukee to outscore the Celtics 26-7 and flip the sport again round within the Bucks’ favor.

If the Bucks don’t give the Celtics simple scoring alternatives in transition, it’s going to be extraordinarily tough for Boston to attain. That has been confirmed out by the best way the primary half has unfolded.

Jabari Parker remains to be struggling

It was a tough first quarter stint for Jabari Parker, who was minus-13 in 4 minutes because the Bucks fell into an enormous gap.

Milwaukee’s protection predictably struggled with Parker — who has by no means been a powerful defender, and that was earlier than he tore his ACL twice – on the ground. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see if Bucks Coach Joe Prunty has to restrict Parker’s minutes shifting ahead within the sequence, as there’s little doubt Celtics Coach Brad Stevens can be making an attempt to take benefit every time Parker is within the recreation.

That is a part of the problems that include Milwaukee’s resolution with what to do with Parker this summer time, when he can be a restricted free agent – and the previous No. 2 general choose will definitely be in search of an enormous pay day.

Bucks-Celtics is underway, and Boston appears just like the extra put-together workforce

This Bucks-Celtics sequence was simply outlined in a few methods. The Bucks have expertise, however are sometimes disorganized, whereas the Celtics have myriad accidents however can be well-drilled and gained’t make errors.

Via one quarter, that’s the way it’s taking part in out – and Boston is best for it.

Milwaukee dedicated an absurd eight turnovers within the first quarter – resulting in 15 Boston factors – because the Celtics closed the primary quarter with a 15-Zero run and shut the Bucks out over the ultimate Four:17 to take a 29-17 lead after one.

This quarter is strictly how Boston must play to win this sequence: play suffocating protection, and use that protection to create turnovers that result in simple scoring alternatives for a workforce that’s going to battle to get simple baskets now that it doesn’t have Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward for the complete playoffs.

The final time we noticed the Milwaukee Bucks, they had been getting completely obliterated of their season finale – a 130-95 drubbing by the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers.

So why, then, did I choose them to beat the Boston Celtics of their upcoming playoff sequence? One purpose: Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Sure, the Bucks have a variety of issues. They fired their coach, Jason Kidd, halfway via the season. Jabari Parker has (understandably) regarded rusty getting back from his second torn ACL in three years. Their protection leaves a lot to be desired.

However having a top-five participant on this planet can erase a variety of issues. That’s significantly true within the playoffs, the place with days off between video games and an extended summer time forward, gamers like Antetokounmpo can play 40-plus minutes. Given Milwaukee is 9.1 factors per 100 possessions worse with Antetokounmpo on the bench (together with over 6 factors per 100 worse defensively), per NBA.com, and that further time on the court docket might make the entire distinction.

A wholesome Celtics workforce, although, would nonetheless be greater than sufficient to beat this Bucks squad. However the Celtics are removed from wholesome. They’ve been with out Gordon Hayward all season, however dropping Kyrie Irving and Daniel Theis for the playoffs (and Marcus Sensible presumably for the complete first spherical) leaves Boston down 4 rotation gamers, together with two all-stars.

Brad Stevens could also be a magician, however magicians wants instruments to tug off their tips. Will rookie Jayson Tatum, sophomore Jaylen Brown and third-year guard Terry Rozier be adequate to assist Boston advance? Doubtlessly. And Al Horford’s presence will assist guarantee Boston’s protection is sweet sufficient to offer the Celtics an opportunity if their shooters can knock down threes.

Expertise tends to win within the playoffs, although. And never solely do the Bucks have Antetokounmpo, however they arguably have three of the 4 greatest gamers within the sequence (relying on the place one ranks Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton compared with Tatum and Brown). How these 4 gamers carry out might truly wind up being the bellwether for the way this sequence goes.

But when I’ve to hold my hat on one thing in making a prediction, I’ll dwell with using with one of many NBA’s greatest gamers towards an injury-riddled opponent.

Antetokounmpo hasn’t had an enormous second within the playoffs but. He’s adequate to make beating the Celtics his first.

*****

Some quick-hits on at the moment’s different video games:

– The Cleveland Cavaliers have spent all season taking part in zero protection, leaving observers curious as to whether or not they plan on taking part in some within the playoffs. Judging by how Coach Tyronn Lue is aligning his gamers earlier than they start, although, it looks as if the Cavaliers are betting on their offense to hold them as a substitute.

To that finish, getting into the playoffs with a beginning lineup of Jeff Inexperienced at energy ahead and Kevin Love at middle – eschewing higher defensive choices inside in Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. – is sensible. That might wind up being significantly true towards an Indiana Pacers workforce that doesn’t have the type of bruising low-post presence that Cleveland’s subsequent two doubtless opponents – the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers – may have.

However how Cleveland’s protection holds up – and if its offense is sweet sufficient to hold it whether or not the “D” reveals up or not – would be the foremost factor to look at for because the Cavaliers attempt to make a fourth straight NBA Finals.

– There won’t be a person matchup I’m trying ahead to extra in these playoffs than Paul George vs. Donovan Mitchell.

George has been one of many league’s greatest perimeter defenders for a while, and the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder can unleash him on Mitchell – the main scorer for the Utah Jazz as a rookie – and permit him to make Mitchell’s life depressing each second he’s on the court docket.

It’s been a powerful rookie season for Mitchell, nevertheless it feels prefer it’s an excessive amount of to ask to discover a method to have success towards a veteran like George – to not point out a veteran who, repeatedly, has stepped up his recreation to a different degree within the playoffs.

This is only one of many the reason why Jazz-Thunder is a sequence I’m fired as much as watch each second of – and one I hope goes so long as doable.

– The Minnesota Timberwolves have a basic downside of their quest to make their sequence towards the Houston Rockets attention-grabbing: they should change the mathematics.

Houston is without doubt one of the league’s most prolific three-point capturing groups; Minnesota is certainly one of its worst. It’s that distinction, as a lot as something, that’s going to make Minnesota’s life tough towards the Rockets. To win, Minnesota should stop Houston from scoring at will from past the arc, and should attempt to enhance their very own output on the different finish.

This season, that equation hasn’t labored out too properly, because the Rockets have gained all 4 conferences – three by 18 factors, the opposite by 9. To make issues worse, Houston has scored not less than 116 factors in all 4 conferences, and 120 or extra in three of them.

There’s a purpose, in any case, that this was the one sequence I picked to finish in 4 video games. Till additional discover, three will proceed to be greater than two.

Predicting the East

Raptors in 7: I need to choose Washington to win this sequence. The Wizards match up properly with Toronto and have proven no concern for them this season (splitting 4 video games with out John Wall taking part in in any of them). Nevertheless it’s simply not possible to place that a lot religion on this Wizards workforce after the best way they’ve performed this season. So whereas Toronto will as soon as once more have a tough time, they’ll discover a method to advance.

Bucks in 6: Upset! I really feel equally uncertain about this sequence, as I can’t belief Milwaukee and Boston has 1,000,000 accidents. However the Bucks do have Giannis Antetokounmpo — and I’m choosing The Greek Freak to have his first playoff second and lead the Bucks to the second spherical.

Sixers in 7: One other robust sequence to name. Philadelphia has much more expertise than Miami — however lots much less expertise. Groups typically should take gradual steps within the playoffs — and infrequently make it to the convention finals on their first attempt, because the Sixers are predicted to do. However with Joel Embiid prone to come again early within the sequence, we’ll tip the percentages, ever so barely, in Philadelphia’s path.

Cavs in 5: LeBron James has made it to the NBA Finals for seven straight seasons. He isn’t dropping within the first spherical. It’s been an amazing season for the Indiana Pacers and former DeMatha star Victor Oladipo, nevertheless it ends right here.

Predicting the West

Rockets in Four: Minnesota merely can’t guard Houston. This needs to be a excessive scoring — however brief — sequence.

Warriors in 5: With Stephen Curry harm, Golden State limping into the playoffs and San Antonio’s pedigree, the Spurs will get a recreation. But when this sequence is any extra aggressive than that, the questions on Golden State’s potential to repeat as champions will achieve much more credibility in my eyes.

Pelicans in 6: This needs to be a extremely enjoyable sequence, and Portland Path Blazers star Damian Lillard has a penchant for arising large in large moments. However Anthony Davis has taken a step ahead this season and established himself as a high 5 participant within the NBA, and he has but to win a playoff recreation. That is his time to make a press release, and I believe he’ll by getting the Pelicans to the second spherical.

Thunder in 7: That is, with out query, the most effective and most compelling sequence of the primary spherical. However the Thunder have a pair issues going for them. The primary is house court docket — which, in a detailed sequence, is a large edge. The second is that Paul George, one of many NBA’s greatest gamers and wing defenders, goes to be guarding Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell. It’s been an unimaginable debut from the Louisville product, however asking him to be the main scorer on a playoff workforce towards an all-world defender like George seems like an excessive amount of for Utah to beat. However that is simply the sequence I’m most trying ahead to watching.

Sunday’s schedule and outcomes (all instances Japanese)

Odds

The Warriors and Cavaliers have met in three straight NBA Finals, however The Publish’s Neil Greenberg writes that neither workforce needs to be thought of a favourite getting into the playoffs. That shouldn’t be too surprisingly, contemplating the Houston Rockets went wire-to-wire this season because the league’s greatest workforce; they’ve a 39 p.c likelihood of profitable the title, which might be their first since going back-to-back within the 1994 and ’95 Finals. However what may shock you is which groups Greenberg has following the Rockets with the most effective odds to win all of it. (Trace: It’s not Golden State or Cleveland.) The truth is, Greenberg additionally writes that the Warriors needs to be on upset alert within the first spherical, having to host the all the time harmful Spurs.

Pregame studying

Brewer: Raptors ship Wizards a Sport 1 message: Toronto is best — clearly higher

Wizards drop Sport 1 in Toronto, 114-106, as Raptors snap notorious streak

A brand new NBA story line: The Warriors might not be favorites to win one other title

Their two greatest stars misplaced to harm, the Celtics nonetheless have one big benefit: Their coach

Dirk Nowitzki isn’t a part of these NBA playoffs, however Dirk clones are in every single place

‘My pal was shot’: How an murderer’s bullets in Israel modified an NBA workforce’s title in D.C.

The Golden State Warriors needs to be on upset alert as NBA Playoffs start. Significantly.

Russell Westbrook posted a season-long triple-double — once more. Why don’t we care this time?

Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell can’t agree on who’s rookie of the 12 months and it’s fairly humorous

Remark Q&A

Hop into the feedback part under beginning at 12:30 p.m. to talk with The Publish’s Tim Bontemps about all your NBA questions.

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NBA Podcast: Jay King on the impression of the Celtics shedding Kyrie Irving

 

On the newest episode of “Posting Up,” The Athletic’s Jay King discusses the impression of Kyrie Irving’s season-ending knee surgical procedure. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The Boston Celtics entered this season with sky-high expectations.

After signing Gordon Hayward, buying and selling for Kyrie Irving and drafting Jayson Tatum so as to add to what already was a gifted staff, the Celtics anticipated to be contending for an Jap Convention title this season.

And, with 4 video games left within the common season, Boston’s 53-25 report — and clinching the second seed within the East together with it — would appear to point the Celtics are the title contender they have been presupposed to be.

However that report doesn’t mirror the truth that not solely is Hayward out for the season, however now Irving is as nicely. Boston introduced Thursday that the all-star guard would want a second knee surgical procedure in as many weeks.

Mix these accidents with Boston being with out key reserves Marcus Sensible and Daniel Theis, and abruptly the Celtics not solely are seen as being a step under the East’s high groups, in addition they are arguably going to be underdogs to even win a single collection.

To debate all of that, the newest episode of “Posting Up,” The Washington Submit’s NBA podcast, featured a dialog between host Tim Bontemps and Jay King, Celtics beat author for The Athletic.

The dialogue included:

— Does Irving’s newest damage elevate doubts about Boston’s willingness to signal him long-term as a free agent subsequent summer time?

— Is Boston even favored to win a first-round collection at this level?

— Which of the groups on the backside of the East playoff image — the Miami Warmth, Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks — are the scariest first-round opponent?

Subscribe to the podcast at any of the locations you will get your arms on it, together with Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, RadioPublic and iHeartRadio. And while you do, please give it a five-star ranking and evaluate. It’s useful and appreciated.

When you’re at it, give a few of The Washington Submit’s different wonderful podcasts a shot, together with Constitutional, Can He Do That? and The Fantasy Soccer Beat.

Are you interested by good, considerate evaluation of the NBA from The Washington Submit and across the Net delivered to your inbox each Monday morning? If that’s the case, join the Monday Morning Submit Up, The Washington Submit’s NBA publication.

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Celtics bounce again on highway to beat Wizards in extra time

 

WASHINGTON — After a hellish begin to their journey with a loss in Toronto, the Celtics emerged final evening with their aggression restored.

The outcome was a 110-104 extra time victory towards a Washington Wizards crew that simply might be a postseason opponent for the Celtics.

From Tuesday’s loss to the scorching Raptors in Toronto to this extended-time win within the nation’s capital, and on to tonight on the Backyard towards Indiana Pacers and Sunday towards the Cleveland makeovers, the Celtics are actually keeping off the Jap Convention pack.

“Each crew is coming,” stated Jaylen Brown. “They take a look at the East and assume it’s broad open, and rightfully so. All people is coming with their finest. Everybody talks in regards to the Celtics — we’re the No. 1 crew within the East and we’ve been No. 1 for some time now. These groups are on our heels and we all know that, so each evening we have now to return out with the identical power. Each evening is sort of a Tremendous Bowl. We are able to’t take nights off.”

Toronto was a simple winner over the Knicks and stays a sport behind the Celtics.

“Each sport for us is a studying expertise and it’s virtually like a must-win simply based mostly on the quantity of expectations we placed on ourselves and what we count on from each other on a game-to-game foundation,” stated Kyrie Irving, who made three free throws with 9.Three seconds left in regulation — courtesy of a Markieff Morris foul that the Wizards ahead hotly disputed — to ship the sport into extra time. “We simply wish to have that effort constantly. And after we do, we put ourselves in an important place to achieve success on the finish of the sport.”

The Celtics practically trashed any place they held over the Jap Convention towards Washington. They led 88-78 with 5:23 left, when the Wizards uncorked a 14-Three run for a 92-91 lead on Kelly Oubre’s Three-pointer.

Washington’s Morris, who’s the dual of Celtics ahead Marcus Morris, fouled Irving and the sport modified. The Wizards ahead repeated the error — once more on Irving — for 3 extra free throws early in extra time.

“The primary was nowhere close to a foul,” he stated. “(Referee) Billy (Kennedy) was behind me. I don’t know the way he may see me swiping down on the ball — me hitting his arm. If I hit his arms, there was no means he may get the shot up. The second was a foul. I truthfully admit to that. However the first one was nowhere close to.”

Irving, requested about Morris’ phrases, politely declined remark, saying, “I don’t wish to be fined.”

Irving finally led the Celtics with 28 factors, together with 9 from the road within the fourth quarter and extra time.

Washington, minus the steerage of John Wall, who not too long ago had his knee “scoped,” fell into turnover purgatory early. The hosts recovered to steer as late as with 55.Three seconds to go in regulation. Then Irving bought the possibility to tie the sport from the road.

He duplicated the Three-for-Three feat on the line with Three:45 left in extra time for a 103-100 lead.

Marcin Gortat leveled the rating once more off a three-point play, earlier than Brown made a number of huge pictures for the Celtics.

The Wizards botched a three-shot possession and Brown scored a go-ahead bucket down the opposite finish with 2:33 left.

Subsequent, Brown beat Tomas Satoransky to a soar ball with the Celtics chasing down a excessive bounce. Brown lower to the left nook, took a go from Irving and buried a Three-pointer with 1:43 left because the Celtics went up 108-103.

“The shot clock was happening. I shot a shot that I’ve been engaged on for some time now. Simply confirmed itself within the sport,” stated the Celtics ahead, who scored 5 of his 18 factors in extra time.

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