Al Horford defends George Hill

Pregame Post-Ups: Brogdon's Return Won't Affect Hill's Playing Time

Wednesday, May 8 - Celtics at Bucks - Game 5

Pregame – Brogdon's Return Won't Affect Hill's Playing Time

MILWAUKEE – If you’re a Celtics fan who is hoping that the return of a rusty Malcolm Brogdon will decrease the playing time of a red-hot George Hill, don’t get your hopes up.

In fact, let those hopes fade to black. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer just shut them down.

“George won’t play any less,” Budenholzer said after asked him whether or not Brogdon’s return would impact Hill’s playing time. “I think his value to us is pretty obvious to everybody

“George will play as much or more than he has the first three games or four games, and Malcolm will also find his way to work in with the group.”

It’s not often that a team or its fan base would hope that the return of a 50/40/90 shooter on the opposing team would eat away at the playing time of a veteran backup who averaged only 7.6 points per game this season. But Hill, who falls into the latter category, has been one of the most important players in this series.

While Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the best player in this Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, Hill has been at the center of Milwaukee’s most important runs. He has scored in double-figures during each of Milwaukee’s three straight wins, and he scored 36 during the last two games alone. Twenty of those 36 points were scored during the third quarters of Games 3 and 4, when Milwaukee pulled away from Boston for good.

Then there comes the following number, which further illustrates just how impactful Hill has been: the point guard has outscored Boston’s entire bench over the last two games of the series by a count of 36-23.

Hill has looked like his old self – the one who was so great during the postseason for Indiana from 2012-16. He’s been harassing Kyrie Irving with high-octane defense, he’s been making 3-pointers (5-for-10 over three games), and he’s been getting into the teeth of Boston’s defense.

It’s no wonder why Budenholzer quickly shut down the possibility of Brogdon taking away some of Hill’s minutes during tonight’s Game 5. Even Brad Stevens acknowledged Wednesday night that Hill has been a game-changer.

“Sometimes in a series those guys off the bench can have a game here or there that really impact,” Stevens said. “Those guys (Hill and Pat Connaughton) have been good multiple games in a row.”

The Celtics won’t win any games in a row in this series if they don’t figure out a way to contain Hill. Yes, the majority of their attention should and will be on Antetokounmpo, but Boston simply cannot allow Hill to spark another game-changing run tonight for Milwaukee.

- Marc D'Amico


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