The Celtics had a over a week off (from 2/13 to 2/21) to refocus but they fell to the Bucks by a point with a final score of 98-97 last night.
They went into their match up against the Bucks with key players like Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris Sr., and Terry Rozier ready to contribute. Back-ups Semi Ojeleye, Daniel Theis, and Guerschon Yabusele also saw some time on the floor at Fiserv Forum Arena. The Bucks played star Giannis Antetokounmpo alongside Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Tony Snell, Nikola Mirotic, Ersan Ilyasova, and Sterling Brown.
High scorers included Kyrie Irving with 22, Al Horford with 21, and Jayson Tatum with 17 for the Celtics and Giannis Antetokounmpo with 30, and Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon with 15 each for the Bucks.
The ugly headlines poured in post-game, mostly focusing on Boston’s final possession with 3.5 seconds left that could have won the game. Marcus Smart (ugh) lined up the inbound pass. Kyrie Irving set a screen for Marcus Morris who was heavily guarded (very well) by Khris Middleton. Macrus Morris wasn’t open, so Kyrie Irving jumped in the receive the ball and throw up a sad attempt that didn’t have a chance of going in. Celtics fans were pissed. Brad Stevens is literally known for drawing brilliant last second plays with seconds remaining.
The local headlines tell the stories clearly: Morning sports update: The Celtics’ final play against the Bucks wasn’t originally meant for Kyrie Irving, Bucks’ ugly win over Celtics foreshadows excellent Eastern Conference playoffs to come, and my personal favorite: Celtics’ Marcus Morris gets beer spilled on him against Bucks which describes how Morris dove for the ball and ended up with a hand covered in beer.
Last night’s loss now means that the Celtics are 7.5 games behind the Bucks in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks sit at #1 in the Eastern Conference and the Celtics sit at #5 with the Raptors, Pacers, and 76ers in between in that order.
Photo via USA Today.