The Milwaukee Bucks need more from Wesley Matthews and Brook Lopez

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Following two hard-fought matchups, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are tied up 1-1 in the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals.

While the Bucks got the split they needed on the road, there were still some noticeable concerns on display during these two contests. Among them have been the hit-or-miss contributions from the Bucks’ supporting cast, with Wesley Matthews and Brook Lopez serving as two big examples. These two have somewhat struggled on both sides of the basketball over these first two contests, and they must step up with the series now shifting to Fiserv Forum for the next pair of games.

Looking at the production from Wesley Matthews and Brook Lopez throughout the Milwaukee Bucks’ first two games against the Boston Celtics

Starting with Matthews, Milwaukee’s starting two-guard has struggled to help out offensively in these first two games. The veteran has notched a measly nine points while shooting 3-of-9 from the floor, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc in 59 minutes thus far. While the Bucks will not rely on Matthews as a go-to scorer at any point, they need him to knock down the occasional triple or finish at the rim to keep Boston’s defense on their toes, which he has failed to do thus far.

Following the first two games in this series, it is clear that Matthews’ 3-point shooting will be key when he shares the floor with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston’s reputable defense has proven to be a formidable matchup for Antetokounmpo, which has forced him to be more of a playmaker on the offensive end. When he is being swarmed by the Celtics, Antetokounmpo has looked to get his teammates involved by kicking the ball out to the perimeter for solid shooters such as Matthews.

Unfortunately, Matthews has failed to make the Celtics pay in that regard, as he has shot a subpar 1-of-5 from deep off passes from Antetokounmpo in this series, according to He has been a liability from the outside in this series, and the Bucks need him to get going to provide some assistance to Giannis on the offensive end. Looking closer, Matthews is getting good looks as he has shot 0-of-2 on “open” looks and just 1-of-5 on “wide-open” looks from 3-point range in this series. He will continue to get these open looks, but Matthews must start hitting them.

Matthews’ struggles offensively are often forgiven because he has his hands full matching up with the opposing team’s top scorer. In this series, he has primarily guarded Jayson Tatum, who has had the upper hand thus far as he has scored 17 points on 5-of-6 field goal shooting, including 4-of-5 from three when being defended by Matthews. Including Tatum, Boston is shooting 9-of-13 from the floor when defended by Matthews for the series. While some of that can be credited to some tough shot-making from Tatum and others, the Bucks need Matthews to turn up the intensity on the defensive end as he did in the first round, when he hounded DeMar DeRozan for five games.

Brook Lopez has also had his share of struggles on the offensive end as he has scored eight points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 0-of-2 from deep. The big man has primarily been a non-factor with the basketball in his hands, but Milwaukee should look to change that. With Khris Middleton out as he recovers from an MCL sprain, Lopez is a player that could help mightily with the scoring load, as he has proven countless times in this past.

This is particularly true if he can get that 3-point shot to fall with some consistency. Similar to Matthews, Lopez will get those looks when sharing the floor with Antetokounmpo, and if he can knock them down enough to make the Celtics cover him, it could help the Greek Freak offensively by giving him more space to operate. Eight points throughout the first two games is far too little production from Lopez, and he needs to get going.

Defensively, Lopez has done a valiant job of protecting the hoop as he has tallied six blocks in the first two games. As the Bucks look to keep the Celtics out of the paint, Lopez must continue to be the team’s main source of interior protection. Perhaps Lopez is focusing so much defensively that it has taken a toll on his offense, but there is still no question that he can give more than just four points per game, and the Milwaukee Bucks will need him.

These are not the only players that the Bucks will need more from against the Celtics, but they can make a massive difference on both ends.

Next. 5 crucial matchups in Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff series with Boston Celtics. dark

It will be fascinating to see how these two household veterans perform in Game 3 on Saturday.