The Milwaukee Bucks put the Boston Celtics away in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday, taking them down 101-89.
Milwaukee seems to already understand how to beat Boston and they were able to not only create a slew of tricky shots but also shut the Celtics down with a smothering defense that outsmarted their opponent.
They did all of this despite the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo had his worst shooting performance of the playoffs so far (with just 9-of-25).
In the end, Antetokounmpo finished the game with a triple-double of 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists but it was some of the other players who people were talking about after the game.
The Bucks got:
– 29 Minutes out of Wes Matthews, who was a free agent in December
– 29 Minutes out of Grayson Allen, who they got for two second-round picks
– 22 Minutes out of Jevon Carter, who got waived midseason by Brooklyn
GMs who can win on the margins are so, so valuable
— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) May 1, 2022
Sunday’s Game 1 was a perfect example of how deep, reliable, and under-appreciated the rest of the Bucks’ roster is.
For example, Wes Matthews, who was a free agent back in December, played 29 minutes.
Meanwhile, Grayson Allen, who Milwaukee acquired for two second-round picks, also played for 29 minutes.
Additionally, Jevon Crowder, who was waived by the Brooklyn Nets just a few months ago, played for 22 minutes.
The Bucks have some of the biggest players in the league but they are also turning to players who other teams have cast off – and it’s working.
The more time they spent in the postseason, the more obvious it becomes that the Bucks could return to the Finals this year.
There was a time when they were written off and many analysts didn’t see a path for them to go all the way again.
But the team has really been consistent over the last few months and has come together – partly because of the help of players like Matthew, Allen, and Crowder.
Of course, the phenomenal work of Antetokounmpo can’t be understated.
He is once again looking like one of the greatest players in the association.
And he happens to be surrounded by a group of players intent on proving they have what it takes.