Milwaukee Bucks: 3 takeaways from 123-102 win over Boston Celtics

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 30: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 30: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images). /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 30: (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images).
MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 30: (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images). /

Bucks let it fly

In Game 1, the Bucks were far from their best when it came to shooting from three-point land. They didn’t shoot well from anywhere on the court, really, but behind the arc especially.

As a team, the Bucks shot just 13-of-39 on three-point field goals in Game 1, which honestly looks better than it actually was. Giannis going 3-of-5 from deep in the fourth quarter inflated the stats a little bit.

Middleton was 3-of-4 from deep, Mirotic was 3-of-4, but outside of those three players, the Bucks were just 4-of-24 as a team. In the playoffs especially, that is unacceptable from the supporting cast.

The whole point of the “let it fly” philosophy is for the supporting players to stretch the floor for Giannis and Bledsoe to attack the paint, which can’t be done if no one is hitting outside shots.

In Game 2, the Bucks came out firing and got their groove back. It started with Brook Lopez who splashed his first two triples to get the wheels turning for the offense.

Then, Middleton came alive and took on the form of a fire-breathing dragon. Middleton went 5-of-7 from deep in the first half and was confidently stepping into contested threes like Bucks fans know he can when he gets in a rhythm.

Middleton led the way as the Bucks set a franchise playoff record for made and attempted threes in one half, going 11-of-26 in the first half.

They didn’t let up in the second half, either. Middleton dropped in another couple of threes to get the offense going again and then the rest of the Bucks caught up to him.

Bledsoe hit a couple of threes, Lopez hit one, Hill hit one and even Giannis hit a couple in the three-point blitz during the third quarter. Before the quarter had even ended, the Bucks had set a franchise playoff record for made three-point field goals in a game at 17.

When the dust settled from the third quarter, the Bucks had walloped the Celtics 39-18 in the frame on their way to a 98-73 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bucks’ offense was awful in Game 1, and the lack of outside shooting was a large reason. Without any outside threat to deter help defenders from converging on Giannis or for someone to make the defense pay for leaving them open, Milwaukee’s offense can, and did, fall apart.

Once the defense was forced to respect the outside shooting of Middleton, Bledsoe and the supporting cast, things opened up in the paint and Giannis could go to work, pouring in 13 points in a five-minute span in the third quarter.

Now, the Bucks can’t expect Middleton to go 7-of-10 from deep in every single game, but it was crucial for role players like Lopez, Hill and Bledsoe to see the ball go in multiple times both for confidence and to give the Boston defense something to think about going forward in the series.

The Bucks don’t have to shoot lights out as they did in Game 2 in every game in order to win, but they need to keep shooting all the same and at least make a respectable number of them to keep the offense balanced.

Game 2 was a confidence booster for many players, and now they need to keep that shooting confidence going into Game 3 and the rest of the series.