Milwaukee Bucks ‘definitely could have used’ Chris Middleton in second round loss to Boston Celtics

BOSTON – To successfully defend the NBA Championship, the Milwaukee Bucks realized they needed a combination of strong player performance, health, and maybe a little luck.

But the absence of the front khris middleton They loomed large during their Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Boston Celtics and were very difficult to beat in the end as Milwaukee’s season ended with a 109-81 loss at Game 7 on Sunday.

The Bucks failed to reach 100 points in three out of seven games (all losses) and were pretty aggressive from behind the three point streak. Boston made 53 more three-pointers than Milwaukee in the series, which according to research by ESPN Stats & Information, is by far the largest single-series gap in NBA post-season history.

We could have used it [Middleton]Surely he could have used it,” Bucks’ guard Jrue holiday She said. “He makes big shots and plays from both sides, but especially offensively.”

Without Middleton, who injured MCL’s left knee during Game Two of his first-round match with the Chicago Bulls, the Bucks star Giannis Antikonmo He did his best to carry the team through this series.

Antetokounmpo averaged 33.9 points, 14.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists during the series against the Celtics’ defense that ranked first in the NBA in efficiency during the regular season. He finished with as many 40-point games in the series (three) as the Celtics gave in all season. Antetokounmpo became the first player in league history to score 200 points, score 100 rebounds and provide 50 assists in a single series.

“The way Giannis developed throughout the series, the way Giannis played against a very good defensive team, against a lot of good defenders was like another one of his growth moments and opportunities for growth,” the Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer She said. “I thought he was exceptional – his scoring, his attacking, his game making, his selflessness.

“There will always be a time or two where we could have been better, it could have been better, but I say as the series progressed I liked him a lot and how he sort of figured out how to attack, how to score, how to make, how to do all of those things. We didn’t get it done, which is a big part of that, but I’m really impressed with how he’s progressed through the series.”

Antetokounmpo started Sunday’s scorching heat, scoring 6-10 in the first half for 17 points before appearing to shrivel up while struggling. Only 4 of 16 hits in the second half with 8 points as the Celtics moved away after the first half.

“Legs are heavy. The body is heavy. The mind is heavy. Everything was heavy,” Antetokounmpo said with a smile after the match. “I was just trying to be aggressive. At the end of the day, it’s game seven and I’m not going to catch the ball and I’m not going to look over the edge. I’d rather miss a bunch of shots and keep playing and keep coming in and keep being aggressive. I keep looking for my teammates and keep playing. Right, then go to passive mode. I can live with that.”

Antetokounmpo had to take on much of Milwaukee’s scoring burden in all series, becoming the first player to hit 25 attempts in seven consecutive games since. Allen Iverson in 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

However, after the match, Antetokounmpo said he enjoyed competing in this series against Boston despite his strength due to the effort his team put in in every match.

“I don’t think I got away from the physicality of that,” Antetokonmo said. “None of the matches. I kept coming through adversity. That’s who I am, that’s how I built… I enjoyed it. It definitely made me a better player. You improve with experience.”

In the end, however, Antetokounmpo couldn’t do it all on his own and the Bucks had several empty offers from their role players. George Hill He did not score any points in four of the five matches he played. Grayson Allen They shot 20.8% of 3. The Bucks only shoot 27.9% of 3 as a team. Apart from Antetokounmpo and Holiday, Pat Connaughton He was the only other player in the Bucks to score a double-digit average (10.3), though Bobby Portez She averaged 9.9 points per game in the series.

“Obviously, we weren’t trying to make excuses,” Antetokonmo said. “I think everyone went there to compete and give their all. That’s what we did from match 3 against Chicago to match 7 against Boston. If we had [Middleton]It might have been a different story. But we didn’t.”