Milwaukee at Boston
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are relying on everybody with injured Kyrie Irving done for the postseason and it worked pretty well in their playoff opener. Boston attempts to take a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday after having five players tally 19 or more points in Sunday’s 113-107 overtime victory.
Starting backcourt members Terry Rozier (23 points) and Jaylen Brown (20) plus wing Jayson Tatum (19) combined for 62 points in the Eastern Conference first-round opener and coach Brad Stevens feels that could catapult the trio’s confidence level. “Those guys lived a lot of what the playoffs are about today,” Stevens told reporters. “The good news is that they’ve got now a little bit of experience and know how hard it is, know how detailed you have to be to finish a team out.” Milwaukee certainly had a chance to score a Game 1 victory but standout forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo (35 points) and Khris Middleton (31) didn’t receive enough help from their teammates. “We know we can do a lot better,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on Monday. “We’re hoping (Tuesday) night we can play a lot better and win the game.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE BUCKS: Milwaukee will need better efforts from the starting backcourt as both Eric Bledsoe (nine points on 4-of-12 shooting, five turnovers) and Tony Snell (two points, minus-17 on the plus/minus ratio) had poor outings. Bledsoe’s ball-handling troubles were particularly troublesome as his sloppiness set the tone for the club’s 20 total miscues. “We need to be more aggressive and attack the paint,” Bledsoe told reporters. “It’s basketball, we’re still going to turn the ball over. We still had numerous chances to win the game. We could’ve got a couple more rebounds and been up a few more points. Turnovers are going to happen.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Rozier started just 16 regular-season games over his three NBA seasons but he was up for the task in a Game 1 effort that included four 3-pointers. “This is my third time in the playoffs and it just keeps getting better,” Rozier told reporters. “It’s unfortunate what happened to our teammates throughout the whole year, but we still got each other and we still got to fight, still got to win.” Brown played an average of 12.6 minutes in 17 playoff games last season – he averaged five points – but looked like a well-experienced veteran in his 46 minutes of action in Game 1.
1. C Al Horford (24 points, 12 rebounds) and PF Marcus Morris (21 points) were the other Celtics who scored 19 or more in Game 1.
2. Middleton was 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the opener and buried a 35-foot buzzer beating that forced overtime.
3. Boston PG Marcus Smart (thumb) indicated he might be available should the series stretch to a seventh game.