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A Truly Dominant Performance Has The Celtics Up 2-0

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics - Game Two

What a difference a year makes. This time last year we were all in a panic, down 0-2 to a Rajon Rondo led Bulls team, trying to figure out how the hell Bobby Portis turned into the best played in the NBA. Now? We as Celtics fans feel about as good as physically possible. My coffee tasted better this morning, I jumped right out of bed ready to start my day, and I’m pretty sure I’m only slightly going to hate life being at work today. All because our beloved Celtics continue to play beautiful basketball. Some might be shocked the Celts have had this type of success, but those people clearly haven’t been watching. Through two games in this series the Celtics have showed us why they felt disrespected that teams were lining up to play them in a series. Sometimes you have to be careful for what you wish for, because this team right now is firing on not even all their cylinders.

I’m going to say this a lot throughout this blog so I may as well say it now. This series is NOT over. In fact, it couldn’t be further from over. The Celtics haven’t done anything outside of what they should have done which is protect home court. The second they get complacent is when this series will shift. But……having said that……….

The parade’s back on.

The Good

– With so many guys playing well, you could make a case for a number of players to start us off. My thought is don’t overthink it. When I think of the main story of Game 2, it revolves around the play of Jaylen motherfucking Brown

Just a little 30/5 on 12-22 shooting to become the youngest Celtic ever to reach 30 points in a playoff game. Coming into this postseason we all knew that if the Celtics were going to have any sort of success no matter who the opponent was, that Jaylen was going to have to elevate his game and be that consistent go to guy. Well, through two games he stands at 25/4.5/2.5 with 51/42% while making 3.5 3PM a night.

Read that line again.

Now things can obviously change, but why be a negative nancy right now? Don’t you get what type of blog this is? Watching Jaylen thrive last night, we got to see what I would call perfect offensive execution. Sure he took 12 3PA, but none of them were a bad shot, and this was in addition to him living in the paint/at the rim, where almost half of his FGA came from. He knew right from the start of Game 1 that MIL does not have the athleticism on the wing to stop him from getting to where he wants to go. What’s crazy about Brown’s success is he’s doing it all while taking just 2 FTA so far in the entire series. I think we can all agree that the best part about Jaylen’s start isn’t the awesome dunks, but how consistent and reliable he’s been as a three point shooter. He’s making that transition into a player who is knocking down those big momentum threes, and if that’s going to be the case then everything else about his offensive game will open up.

I’m just saying, Kawhi didn’t have 30 in a playoff game until his 4th year.

– If you want to talk about young Celtics flourishing in the playoffs, you really can’t have that discussion without mentioning Terry Rozier. Another guy who had the weight of the world on his shoulders heading in, I could not think of a better response through two games.

23/3/8 on 8-14 shooting (3-5 from deep) Terry Rozier has not only owned Eric Bledsoe, I’m pretty sure he now becomes the father to his children (I have no idea if Bledsoe has kids but I really wanted to use that line). If you think you love how Terry has played so far, try being his agent. I cannot imagine the feeling those two have right now. With Rozier it’s more than just his solid consistent offense, defensively he’s been about as good as you could want, with opponents last night shooting just 7-15 against him, and Bledsoe being the worst at 4-11. He’s owned every bit of that matchup on both ends, and it’s almost at the point where Rozier has made it difficult for the Bucks to even give Bledsoe minutes.

The story with Terry has always been his consistency. Then he went on that huge run of double digit scoring and we thought maybe he had figured it out. Personally I was holding off just a little bit until we saw him in a playoff series against a defensive minded guard, but now that we have, this dude might be the best PG in the East playing right now. I’m not kidding. Lowry has been pretty terrible, John Wall as flashy numbers but none of the wins, I guess Ben Simmons is a PG but he’s more of a point forward, and it certainly isn’t George Hill. Try and find a PG playing better than Terry and his 23/3.5/5.5 on 46/50% splits while making 3.5 3PM a night right now. You can’t.

And on top of everything Rozier has done, the thing I love most is he hasn’t turned the ball over. Zero turnovers in 79 minutes, despite a usage rate of 20%. An in control Terry? Oh jesus pray for the rest of the league.

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– The Celtics are 35-0 when leading a 7 game series 2-0. I know this is a very, very dangerous game to play, and I know that we have a loooonnnng way to go before we really start celebrating, but come on. Allow yourself to get a little cocky. With everything we as fans have gone through this year, fuck anyone who tries to rain on your parade. 35-0. That’s no joke.

– Also no joke is the play of Playoff Al. Man it must be so unfortunate for all the morons on Twitter right now. I really wish they could enjoy what they are seeing, but deep down they know they can’t.

This was about as classic a line from Horford as we’ve ever seen. His 16/5/4 on 7-11 doesn’t look as gaudy as his 24/12 but you bet your ass he was every bit as effective. That’s why after Game 1 I wanted to be clear that I wasn’t pumped about Horford’s play because of his final line, but because of how he looked doing it. We got that same sort of effort, energy and defense in this game, and it just so happens Horford turns into one of the most consistent offensive options in the entire playoff field once the games start to matter. I am ready to say it, last year was no fluke. While there are certain matchups that Al will struggle with, for the most part he is showing us why he is so goddamn valuable and why I’ve long said he is their most important player. When Al is playing like this on both ends, the Celtics become almost impossible to beat.

– How is it possible that with everyone out, that the Celtics could still score 120 points and finish with 53/41% shooting and 13 3PM? How could they have a 27 point quarter be the lowest total of any quarter they played? I thought this team offensively was cooked with no Kyrie. That’s what the basketball experts told me. I’m confused.

– Is there a more exhausting experience than watching Marcus Morris? This team has had a lot of “no no no on YESSS!” type of shooters on it, but Morris may be my favorite.

The type of contested shots he makes doesn’t really make all that much sense, but I’m at the point now where Morris can literally take any shot he wants and I’m good with it. To say this team needed a guy to be a big time bench scorer would be the understatement of the century, and Morris has more than filled that role. Add in his defense and his fight, he’s become just as important to this early playoff success as anyone. He clearly got in the head of Middleton, and you can tell the rest of the team is feeding off him, especially that second unit.

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Danny Ainge made a bunch of great moves this offseason, but the addition of Morris has to be high up the list.

– HOW FUCKING AWESOME WERE THE YABU PLAYOFF MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– We also can’t forget the fact that Shane Larkin returned to being the beast we saw all year and that Greg Monroe had an efficient 12/4 off the bench as well. The Celtics bench is going to be important moving forward as you can expect at least a little regression from the starters, so to see them playing with this type of confidence was awesome.

– A sneaky key to both these wins has to be the work the Celtics have done in terms of second chance points. Game 1 was heavily in their favor, and Game 2 was no different with a 20-4 advantage. The Celts finished with 90 FGA to MIL’s 77, and anytime shit like that happens you should expect a blowout like this.

– And finally, how could you not love the fact that the Celtics turned it over just 5 times. This allowed them to stay even with MIL in fast break points at 15 a piece, and will remain as the most important thing the Celtics can do if they want to advance. Take care of the ball against this Bucks team and they have a really hard time beating you. It’s that simple.

The Bad

– I think we’ve all had a night like Jayson Tatum. You know the one where your shot isn’t falling so you focus on doing everything else well. He shot just 2-9 which wasn’t great, and he played a low 29 minutes, but I’m willing to give him mostly a pass considering his work on the boards (7) and his defense (4 steals and 1 block).

Moving into Game 3, I’d like to see them give him the Jaylen treatment where they get him some easy looks at the rim instead of starting out chucking 25 footers. Tatum hasn’t really had two bad game in a row all year, and if they are going to win on the road, they are going to need more offensive production for sure,

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– Listen the defense in this game was weird. It never felt like the Bucks were getting anything and everything they wanted, but they also finished the game shooting 59.7%. Almost 60% of their points came in the paint, largely due to Giannis.

Much like Game 1, the Celtics haven’t really figured out how to stop Giannis/Middleton. Combined they had 55 of the 106, and while Middleton has made a ton of tough shots, Giannis is basically living at the rim, which long term could potentially be a problem. The Celts need to figure out a way to make this guy a jump shooter.

– Look I know it was a blowout and this didn’t matter, but 11-18 from the FT line isn’t great. Especially when guys like Morris miss 4.

The Ugly

– Maybe I’m being selfish, but I think we deserved more than 10 minutes of Yabu. It’s no surprise that the second he came into the game early everything swung in the Celtics favor. Yabu led the team last night in Drtg as the only player with a number under 100. Playoff Yabu is ready for more responsibility and it’s time Brad gives it to him.

– Ideally I’d still like to see the Celts move the ball a little better. They finished with just 24 assists on 48 baskets, and a 50% assist% is far too low for them. I get that the isolation has been working, but that’s always going to be a little bit scary for me. This team is at it’s best when the ball is moving side to side and the defense is forced to rotate. I would love to see this number at like 60+% once we get to MIL.

It’s hard not to get ahead of yourself, I understand that. I’m struggling with it myself. I would just urge Celtics fans everywhere to remember last year. Remember how quickly a series can change. Enjoy these next few days, troll on Twitter, pump your chest out, it’s all warranted. Just know that there is more work to be done, but I can taste it. The Bucks are about to break.

2 down 14 to go.