MILWAUKEE — The Boston CelticsIt was offensively very difficult for Milwaukee BucksStar Giannis AntetokounmpoThrough the first two games, Antetokounmpo was dominant in Game 3. He scored 42 points to help the Bucks win 103-101 on Saturday.
Antetokounmpo had an extra day off between Games 2 & 3. This gave him more time to reflect on Milwaukee's recent loss. He was 2 for 12 in the first half. Antetokounmpo was described by a team source as angry to ESPN for his behavior in practice leading up to Game 3 because he believed that he could perform better.
Bucks center. Brook Lopez said. “I think he was ready in time for this game right following Game 2.”
Antetokounmpo reacted to a poor shooting performance in Game 2, to finish 16/30 (53%) on Saturday. He also added 12 rebounds and eight assists to help the Bucks gain a 2-1 series advantage.
Antetokounmpo was able to find answers for the Celtics on Saturday. They had been trying to keep him off balance by using a mixture of physical and talented defenders to protect him on every possession. Antetokounmpo beat five primary defenders including the Celtics forward, scoring 14 points. Al Horford, and scored 26 points in the paint, his most in a playoff game this season, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.
Antetokounmpo drove to basket and the Celtics didn't have an answer. According to Second Spectrum, he scored 17 points shooting after his own drives. This is his highest point total in a single game this season.
Antetokounmpo remarked after the match, “I just tried reading whatever was in front me, and play to what my strengths are as much as I can.” “I know my strengths. Sometimes I will make the right play and sometimes I'll make a mistake, but I know my strengths and I will be in a good position.
He said, “At the final day, I'm going to not change something that has been working for me. I can live with it or die. … I need to learn to be more intelligent with it, and to make the best use of my time. Sometimes, I can rush. I need to slow down and take my own time to get to my places.
Antetokounmpo found many ways to punish the Celtics Saturday.
He was able to do so in transition. The Bucks outscored Celtics 21-11 in fast-break points, while Antetokounmpo scored eleven points on 3 of 6 field goal (5 for 5 free throws). Antetokounmpo was the one to inspire his teammates — Milwaukee shot 8 out 17 and scored 19 points thanks to Antetokounmpo's pass. He also disrupted Boston's defense, keeping the Celtics to 3 of 10 shooting when he was their primary defender.
Lopez said that Lopez “does a great job at that, reading what they give him or trying to take away whatever it is.” Lopez said that they throw a lot at him, with a lot different looks and all kinds of things. He is smart and takes his time, making plays for himself or others.
Following the two first games of this series, the Bucks were satisfied with their defense. So they spent the days leading up Game 3 to focusing on ways they could create easier offense for Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo was made to work for every basket by the Celtics' smothering defense. The Bucks wanted to give him more space to score less difficult points.
Usually, the Bucks move to the future. Khris MiddletonIn such cases, they ran their offense through pick and rolls between Antetokounmpo and Middleton. Milwaukee used guard because Middleton was expected to miss the remainder of the series due to a left MCL injury. Jrue HolidayAs Antetokounmpo’s pick-and–roll partner more often
Antetokounmpo set 13 on-ball screens for Holiday that led to a direct action (shot, turnover, foul), their most in a game as teammates, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. Although it wasn't as successful in Game 3, with an average of 0.39 points per pick, down from 1.05 in the regular season, it is still a look that the Bucks will want to have to generate offense while Middleton is out.
Holiday, who scored 25 on 11 of his 30 shots, stated after the game that “it feels pretty good.” They switch sometimes with us, but there were many times when they didn't. I felt confident with the ball in hand, despite the screen obscuring my view. I was able to get to the paint and the basket by getting off it.
“I can take that shot, or kick out. Giannis and I have both done pick-and-roll many times. It's a good series. We will be there together down the stretch.”
Holiday and Antetokounmpo both took 30 shots Saturday. They helped Boston to close the game in crunch with a basket each from each player in the last minute to rally from a deficit of one point with:50 seconds remaining.
The stars of Milwaukee outdistanced Boston's, and the Bucks now have a series lead. Antetokounmpo was determined, even after an awful night.
Lopez spoke highly of Antetokounmpo’s preparations this week. “Getting his work in, watching a lot film, just going through a lot. He was prepared for tonight. This is just Giannis.