Keys to the Game: Celtics 113, Bucks 107
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
Jayson Tatum made a critical mistake during the final minute of Game 1. What’s most important, however, is that he made up for that mistake almost immediately.
With Boston leading by two and with less than a minute to go in overtime of Game 1, Tatum attempted a drive-and-kick that wound up in Milwaukee’s hands. Khris Middleton grabbed the steal with 41.2 seconds remaining, and the Bucks took it the other way.
The ball wound up in Malcolm Brogdon’s hands, and his defender was none other than Tatum. Last year’s Rookie-of-the-Year point guard versus this year’s rookie phenom forward for Boston.
Brogdon took the ball off the dribble with his left hand but never gained ground on Tatum as the 6-foot-8 forward played outstanding defense. Still, Brogdon attempted to toss up a right-handed layup from the left side of the lane, and that decision didn’t go so well.
Tatum rose up to swat the shot away with 26.4 seconds left, preventing Milwaukee from tying the game up.
Brogdon actually wound up grabbing the offensive rebound, but Milwaukee forced a quick 3-pointer just a second later and that shot also failed to fall.
Al Horford grabbed the rebound and tossed an outlet pass to Terry Rozier, who was fouled shortly thereafter. Rozier stepped to the line with 18.8 seconds remaining, and he canned both attempts to make it a four-point game.
Milwaukee never truly threatened from that point on. The Bucks continued to foul, and Boston continued to make its free throws to seal the win.
And that win may never have arrived had Tatum, a 20-year-old rookie, displayed the poise he did after his critical turnover. He didn’t hang his head. Instead, he got back on defense and made up for his mistake with a game-sealing play.
Al Horford was so good during Game 1. He basically played a mistake-free game, all while tallying a monster double-double.
Horford finished the contest with a team-high 24 points despite attempting only eight shots from the field. That, folks, is the epitome of efficiency.
The majority of Horford’s offensive work was done at the free-throw line, where he canned 13 of his 14 attempts – a 92.9 percent conversion rate. Horford pounded the ball into the paint throughout the game, drawing foul after foul on Milwaukee, and his strong post play was a major contributing factor to Giannis Antetokounmpo fouling out of the game in overtime.
Horford also hauled in a team-best 12 rebounds on the night, including three big offensive rebounds. He finished with four assists, three blocks and two steals, all while committing only one turnover during 44-plus minutes of playing time.
Simply put, the Celtics would not have won this game without Horford’s across-the-board contributions. In particular, his aggression in the paint, and his constant run of great decision making led the Celtics to a 1-0 series lead.
Box Score Nuggets
- Five Celtics scored at least 19 points, led by 24 from Al Horford.
- Horford also grabbed a team-best 14 rebounds to mark a double-double.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded game highs of 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
- Despite going to overtime, the Bucks attempted only 83 shots.
- Khris Middleton contributed 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Milwaukee.
- Marcus Morris' 21 points off of Boston's bench nearly matched Milwaukee's bench total in scoring (23).
- The Celtics outscored the Bucks by 18 points while Jaylen Brown was on the court.
- No player on Boston's roster recorded more than four assists.
- Boston made 24 of its 27 free throws (88.9 percent).
- Jayson Tatum and Eric Bledsoe tied for the game-high mark in turnovers with five apiece.
- Tatun also tallied a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards.
- Both teams led by at least 10 points during the game.
Quote of the Night
It’s been amazing. It’s my third year in the league, third year in the Playoffs, and it just keeps getting better.
Terry Rozier on starting at point guard during Game 1 of the Playoffs.