3 keys for the Milwaukee Bucks to re-take series lead vs Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 12 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 12 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown
May 1, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

It has felt like an eternity since the Milwaukee Bucks last played after a three-day break in the playoffs, but they’re finally back today and are at home for Game 3 against the Boston Celtics.

Part of what has made this feel so long is that the Bucks are coming off of a 23-point loss in Game 2 where the Celtics went berserk in the first half and that was enough to put it out of reach (although the defending champs did put up a fight).

There’s certainly reason for optimism heading into a pivotal Game 3 and perhaps more than usual after a blowout loss but there are a few things that the Bucks will need to do to re-take the lead in this series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s scoring is perhaps the biggest key for the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3

I said ahead of Game 2 that Antetokounmpo would need a better scoring performance if the Bucks wanted to steal both road games.

Well, he technically did have a better scoring effort in Game 2 with 28 points, but it was on 45 percent true shooting which is still better than Game 1 but still bad.

He was dreadful in the first half, going 2-of-12 from the field (2-of-9 inside the arc) for five points. You know how there are games where we say Antetokounmpo played poorly but it’s more relative to his usual standard of greatness? This was flat-out bad for anyone.

After dominating the Chicago Bulls’ frontcourt over five games, things have been nowhere near as easy in round two. Against Al Horford, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams, Antetokounmpo is shooting a combined 17-of-44 (38.6 percent) on 2-point shots. If you take out Robert Williams, Antetokounmpo is shooting 13-of-36 (36.1 percent) against Horford and Grant Williams. Oh, and he has 10 turnovers against that trio.

Figuring out those matchups and getting him easier looks is the most important adjustment needed for Game 3 and beyond in this series.

Antetokounmpo did look much more comfortable in the second half of Game 2 as he scored 23 points on 62 percent true shooting in an unsuccessful comeback effort. However, it’s a good sign heading into today’s game that he and the Bucks found a couple of things that they could away from a bad loss. I’ll be looking out for how aggressive Antetokounmpo comes out today.