Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/22/18
Defense has been fleeting for the Bucks, who look to even this series at two games Sunday by stifling the Celtics once more at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
The Bucks, who ranked 16th in the league in scoring defense at 106.8 points allowed per game, have been shooting well throughout this series but finally played defense to complement that offense Friday night in a 116-92 waxing of the Celtics that cut their series deficit to 2-1.
Khris Middleton scored 23 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19, but seven-footer Thon Maker was the surprising difference maker on both ends of the court. Maker, who averaged 4.8 points during the season and had played one minute in Milwaukee’s two losses at Boston to start this series, had playoff career highs of 14 points, five rebounds and five blocks in 24 minutes and also hit three of four from 3-point range.
Maker’s defense keyed an inspired effort in which the Bucks tied a postseason franchise record with 13 blocks. They held the Celtics to 40 percent shooting and scored 20 points off 15 turnovers in one of their most complete performances of their entire 2017/18 season.
Al Horford scored 16 points and ex-Buck Greg Monroe chipped in 15 and 12 rebounds off the bench for Boston, who have allowed Milwaukee to shoot 54.7 percent and average 109.7 points through the first three games. Afer scoring 48 points off 35 Bucks turnovers in their two home wins, the Celtics had just nine points off nine turnovers.