The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics both cruised through the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Milwaukee took care of business against Chicago, winning the series 4-1. Boston swept the Brooklyn Nets, making short work of a team that had much more bark than bite. Coming into this semi-finals matchup, many expected the Bucks to struggle without Khris Middleton. However, Milwaukee was able to overcome early turnover troubles to put Boston away and stole Game One on the road.
Giannis Posted His Second Career Postseason Triple-Double
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA Finals MVP and is a MVP finalist this season. There is good reason for that. The Bucks’ superstar put up 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. He also added two blocks. With his triple-double, Giannis became just the sixth player ever to put up multiple 20/12/12 games in the playoffs during his career.
Giannis is 1 of 6 players to have multiple 20/12/12 playoff games.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 1, 2022
Giannis was able to have this kind of line despite having an off-night shooting from the field. He finished the game just 9/25 from the floor, including 0/2 from three. Giannis was also just 6/11 from the free throw line. In spite of these struggles, Giannis was second on the Bucks with a +/- of +23.
Role Players Stepped Up
The player who led the Bucks in +/- was Jevon Carter, who ended the game at +25. His stat sheet doesn’t tell the whole story of his effectiveness on the court, though. Carter finished with seven points, one rebound, and steal. His defense, though, is what set him apart in this game as he held his opponents in check for 22 minutes.
Other key role players stepped up as well, namely Wesley Matthews and Grayson Allen.
The Bucks got:
– 29 Minutes out of Wes Matthews, who was a free agent in December
– 29 Minutes out of Grayson Allen, who they got for two second-round picks
– 22 Minutes out of Jevon Carter, who got waived midseason by Brooklyn
GMs who can win on the margins are so, so valuable
— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) May 1, 2022
The amount of time and production that the Bucks have gotten from these three players is a testament to how good of GM Jon Horst is. He has truly built a championship-caliber roster (again) in Milwaukee.
Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis Are Up to the Task
As mentioned previously, many people expected the Bucks to struggle in this series without Khris Middleton. Middleton has consistently done extremely well against Boston, averaging 22.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game against them in the playoffs.
Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis have proven, though, that they are capable of filling in while Middleton is out. In this game, Holiday finished with a game-high 25 points. He also added nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Jrue making a difference on both sides of the ball. 🔥
25 PTS | 9 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL pic.twitter.com/LgDWTHdbz6
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 1, 2022
Bobby Portis, too, had a big game, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. It was Portis’ fifth double-double of the postseason. The Bucks have won all five games.
Brook Lopez Is Underrated
Perhaps Bucks fans realize how badly Milwaukee needed Brook Lopez, but the national media does not. The veteran center did not score much in Game One (six points), but he grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots. Even when he does not put up big numbers, Lopez has an effect on both offense and defense that does not show up in the stat sheet. His shooting abilities force big defenders to come out and defend him. This opens the lane for Giannis. His presence down low and at the rim forces opponents to take tougher shots.
The Bucks and Celtics will play Game Two in Boston on Tuesday, May 3, at 6:00 CST.
For More Great Wisconsin Sports Content
Follow me on Twitter at @theotherRobin19 and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!