3 Studs, 2 duds from Milwaukee Bucks' hard-fought loss to Boston Celtics

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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The Milwaukee Bucks marched into TD Garden on Wednesday for a clash between the East's top two teams as they visited the Boston Celtics.

Some air was undoubtedly taken out of the hype surrounding the game when it was announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo, battling a hamstring issue, would not play. That also made things much more difficult for Milwaukee, obviously. What followed was a roller coaster ride that saw the Bucks down by as many as 21, only for them to be down by two in the closing moments.

Ultimately, despite their best effort, the Bucks fell short to their foe, falling 122-119 on the road after a tense fourth quarter. In a game that was as turbulent as this, there were several standout showings, both good and bad. With all of that finally said, we're going to highlight these outings by picking out three studs - players who showed up - and duds - players who did not.

Stud - Khris Middleton

After missing over a month, Khris Middleton returned to action in Milwaukee's recent victory vs. the Phoenix Suns, looking like he had not missed a beat. That momentum carried over into this matchup, as the veteran was in an excellent groove throughout.

In 32 and a half minutes, Middleton finished with 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 2-for-3 on his 3-point tries, six assists, four rebounds and a block and a steal apiece. Offensively, Middleton was excellent, knocking down his shots and moving very fluidly.

While the other two studs were playing well offensively in their own rights, one might have liked to see Middleton get more than 11 shots when he's in such a nice rhythm. However, he made sure to get his teammates involved with those six assists, taking on more ball-handling duties with Giannis sidelined.

Above all else, it is great to see Middleton playing this well coming off such an extended absence due to that ankle injury. It seems like the rest has done him good. The Milwaukee Bucks undoubtedly need him to play at this type of level to reach their title dream at the end of the season.