Articles NBA Playoffs 2019

Playoffs Day 18: Bucks strike back and Houston in a pickle

The Bucks bounced back in a huge way to throttle the Celtics, meanwhile after an injury filled first quarter for the Rockets and Warriors, the Warriors snuck away with another win to go 2 up in the series.

The Bucks bounced back in a huge way to throttle the Celtics, meanwhile after an injury filled first quarter for the Rockets and Warriors, the Warriors snuck away with another win to go 2 up in the series.

Milwaukee Bucks (1-1) v Boston Celtics (1-1): 123-102

Giannis Antetokounmpo is back and as are the rest of the Bucks.

After a terrible Game 1, the Bucks bounced back in a big way today in a huge win against the Celtics.

The series is now perfectly even, with both teams winning their individual games by over 20 points in Game 1 and Game 2.

The difference today for the Bucks?

Their shooting, a huge third quarter and switching on defence.

Eric Bledsoe finally showed up shooting 7-12 with 21 points, George Hill gave a spark off the bench with 10 points and the best +/- of the night. Khris Middleton was ferocious from three with 7-10 from three-point land and 28 points, but most importantly Giannis had 29 points, shooting just under 50%. The Bucks shot 43% from three which is nearly 10 percent better than in Game 1.

Everyone knew that if this was an offensive battle, the Bucks would win out. Tonight proved that theory to be correct.

The Bucks stayed away from mid-range jumpers (only hit three the whole game) and instead hit only threes and layups/ dunks in the paint. But it worked very very well.

This is their recipe for success.

The Celtics on the other hand really struggled against Mike Budenholzer’s switch more defence, which kept the Celtics to just over 100 points.

The Celtics were in it for the first half, they kept Giannis relatively quiet and Terry Rozier was attacking the paint well. Then in the second half, they just fell apart. The exact opposite of Game 1.

Kyrie Irving couldn’t find his stroke (4-18), Jason Tatum is still a non-factor (2-10) as was Terry Rozier (2-10). Al Horford and Marcus Morris had solid games again (15 and 17 a piece) but the lack of bench help, the poor shooting (39.5% from the field) kept Boston out of this game in the second half.

Both games have followed a very similar structure, an even first half and then one team just runs away with it in the third/ second half.

With the series all tied up and the teams heading Boston for Game 3, lets hope the Brad Stevens can speak some wisdom to his team and take back home court advantage.

Next game @ Celtics: Saturday (4/5) at 10am.

Golden State Warriors (2-0) v Houston Rockets (0-2): 115 to 109

This was a weird game.

Warriors led coast to coast, Harden and Curry were both injured in the first. Houston had 6 turnovers in their first 10 possessions. The Rockets shot a whole lot better than the Warriors from 3 (43% to only 30% for the Warriors) and still lost.

But in a shocking and very pleasant turn of events the focus this game was not the referees but basketball. Who knew that could even happen.

The Warriors started this game fanatically, scoring all their first 10 points from turnovers. Then Steph Curry dislocates his middle finger and James Harden gets hit in the eye by Draymond Green (by accident I’m told). Meanwhile, Golden State are destroying the Rockets behind a great start from Draymond Green. When Green is the hero on the court, you know this game is going to be a weird one.

Steph and Harden both returned and had no real injures but the Rockets could never get back from their first quarter deficit.

Houston definitely played better than in Game 1. Austin Rivers is turning out to be a real difference maker, with 14 points with 5-8 shooting off the bench. Clint Capella showed up a bit more, taking nearly four times as many shots this game (5-7 with 14 points and 10 rebounds). PJ Tucker actually made a bucket and was 3-5 from 3 with 13 points. Harden was obviously struggling with his eye but still put up 29 points.

The real concern is Chris Paul. He didn’t shoot terrifically but the worry is not his play or shot selection but the number of minutes he played… 40 in total for this game.

Remember last year, when Paul played these many minute? Well if you have forgotten it did not end well in Game 6.

 The Rockets need to have more support, so that Paul can rest and play more around the 32-36-minute range. But the question is who can help the Rockets when he sits? Rivers is a good option, but the team essentially played a six-man squad this game, which doesn’t work when Harden is partially injured and Eric Gordon has an off shooting night.

The Rockets need to play at least a team of 8 to have a shot at this series and pray that Paul stays healthy.

The Warriors on the other hand just took care of business. Jonas Jerebko was great filling in for Steph (while he was injured) and played with great intensity. Again, their bench was subpar, but with the line-up of death, the Warriors will always win a battle with shorter rosters.

Andre Iguodala and Draymond were fantastic again with a combine 12-19 shooting and 31 points, with Green getting a near triple double. Durant continued on his beast ways (although not as efficient) and the Warriors managed to win once again when Steph and Klay Thompson had off shooting nights.

If Steph and Klay click into gear, this series may be over before we know it…

Next Game @ Houston: Sunday (5/5) at 10:30am

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