this eastern conference semifinals series between the boston celtics and the milwaukee bucks has been a fantastic series thus far.
in game 4 on monday, we had another spectacular game as the celtics erased a 7 point deficit before the fourth quarter to beat the bucks 116-108 on the road.
jayson tatum had a great recovery game with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but what about al horford in this one?
Be sure to raise a cup for horford because 30 points and 8 rebounds in 42 minutes at age 35 is extremely impressive!
Because of his determination and intensity on the defensive end of the floor, Boston was able to come from behind to steal Game 4 on Monday night, evening this series at 2-2, and all of a sudden, we have a the “best of 3” scenario.
Milwaukee hasn’t looked like its dominant self with Khris Middleton on the sidelines and now, they’ll face a tough task trying to regain the lead in this series down the road.
These are the three key things we learned from Boston’s impressive win in Game 4.
milwaukee depth is being challenged without middleton
khris middleton is such an important part of the milwaukee bucks offensively as he sometimes acts as a “security blanket” due to his ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor.
giannis antetokounmpo is the aggressive and “attacking” player for them offensively, jrue holiday is the facilitator and khris middleton holds it all together.
However, without Middleton, the Bucks lose a lot of their scoring production, something they desperately need against the stifling Celtics defense.
grayson allen really hasn’t been that effective in this series after having some big games against the chicago bulls in the first round of the playoffs and the bucks coaching staff has really reduced their rotations.
pat connauhgton played 30 minutes off the bench in game 4, george hill played 23 minutes and bobby portis only played 15 minutes due to shooting issues.
against a smaller celtics lineup that got into foul trouble early on, the bucks continued to play small rather than use their size to their advantage, ultimately leading to their downfall on this one.
giannis antetokounmpo and jrue holiday were emotional at the end of the game after they had both played 41 minutes and it looked like the celtics could go on for another 5-10 minutes!
fatigue is starting to catch up with the bucks stars given all they’ve had to do in this series and in game 4, antetokounmpo and holiday accounted for close to 58% of the team’s total shot attempts.
someone will have to step up for milwaukee in this series going forward, especially since khris middleton will likely be out for at least another week.
al horford has turned back the clocks against the dollars
father time catches up with all athletes at some point in their career, but he slammed the door on horford in game 4!
horford looked like his old stellar self when he was with the atlanta hawks years ago, when he scored 30 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had a monster dunk over giannis antetokounmpo…yeah, you read that right.
everything horford has done in this series has had a positive impact on the celtics chances of winning and if there was half a second left on the game clock in game 3 he would have had the game winning goal in that I play as well!
Offensively or defensively, Al Horford has done his job and is earning every penny of his $27.5 million contract.
He plays with heart and has been the Celtics’ veteran leader all season. horford is stepping up when it matters most and in this series against milwaukee, he has been fantastic.
Through four games, Horford is averaging 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and has shot 14-28 (50%) from 3-point range. Posting three double-doubles in four games, Al Horford has been the most impactful player in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“hero-ball” is not working for money
In four games in this series, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday combined to take nearly 58% of the Bucks’ total shots in this series. Giannis is averaging 39.8 minutes per game and Holiday is averaging 38.9 minutes per game against Boston.
everything the bucks do on offense flows through jrue holiday and giannis antetokounmpo, which is fine, but they need to get others involved if milwaukee is going to survive this series without khris middleton.
As mentioned above, the depth of the dollars hasn’t worked out that well, but at the same time, Holiday and Antetokounmpo have been struggling to get them involved.
In their two wins against the Celtics, Milwaukee has averaged 21.0 assists per game. In their two losses, the Bucks averaged 17.0 assists per game.
this “hero ball” mentality of playing one on one all the time with giannis antetokounmpo and jrue holiday hasn’t worked for the bucks just like it hasn’t worked for the dallas mavericks in their series against the phoenix suns
luka doncic is a great player for the mavericks, but they lost the first two games of their series because they were giving the ball exclusively to him to play one on one every possession on offense. Now that they have others involved and Doncic moving the ball, the Mavericks have won two straight over the Suns to even their Western Conference semifinal series.
taking notes from dallas is something the bucks should really do regarding their offense because they are a very similar team with khris middleton out.
giannis antetokounmpo is an elite scorer and jrue holiday is an excellent complementary scoring weapon, but these two alone cannot turn the team on its back and beat arguably the best defensive team in the league in the celtics.
Involving others is essential to making money in this series and in Game 4, the two Milwaukee stars attempt to put the entire burden of winning this game on their shoulders, leading to their eventual defeat.