Bucks match-up with injury-ridden Celtics in first round of playoffs

Wizards coach Scott Brooks

The Celtics appeared to have the game won when point guard Terry Rozier shook off a defender and sank a three-pointer with 0.5 of a second left in regulation. But the Celtics also leaned heavily on a pair of veterans up front with Al Horford scoring 24 points with 12 rebounds in 44 minutes, and Morris scoring 21 points with seven rebounds in 35 minutes off the bench.

The "kids" on the squad came through on the big stage as Rozier scored eight of his 23 points in overtime, Jaylen Brown scored 20 points while playing nearly 46 minutes, and rookie Jayson Tatum scored 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in 44 minutes.

Middleton ended the game second behind Giannis Antetokounmpo with 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Antetokoumpo and his teammates will look to play spoiler and knock off the Celtics. In fact, one can consider the entire regular season a trial by fire, considering the fact that Tatum had to step into Gordon Hayward's big shoes in order for the Celtics to finish 2nd in the Eastern Conference after 82 games.

On paper the Celts shouldn't even be in the postseason, much less hosting a first-round series with home court advantage. During that stretch, six different Celtics registered points.

"We're on track for [a return in the] next three weeks, possibly Game 7 of the first round, [but] definitely second round".

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Giannis takes over and the Bucks' defense stifles the Celtics. The Celtics were 24-14 ATS against teams above.500.

In the final moments, however, the Celtics showed some important life, going on a 6-2 run in the final 1:37 to cut into the lead.

Whether they will need it to beat the Bucks is another story. Only Russell Westbrook and LeBron James had more fast-break points this season, but Antetokounmpo's 1.20 points per possession in transition was more efficient than both of them. The Milwaukee Bucks are shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc and 79.2 percent from the free throw line. Against the Celtics, Antetokounmpo was even better when he got to the rim, shooting 34 for 41, or almost 83 percent.

Tatum is not just the most polished rookie in the league this season, he is also the most polished, complete offensive player on the Celtics roster now that Kyrie Irving is out.

The Bucks executed, however, with Malcolm Brogdon hitting a 3-pointer to tie things with 10.3 seconds left.