Bad shooting nights are inevitable in the game of basketball, but Wednesday night’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals was not ideal timing for one.
That’s exactly what the Boston Celtics got, alongside a lack of effort and urgency (amongst a host of other things), as the Milwaukee Bucks closed out the series at Fiserv Forum with a 116-91 win.
The Celtics shot 31.2 percent from the floor. No matter who you’re playing, that isn’t going to get you a win. Kyrie Irving had a rough showing in the loss, but still led Boston with 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting.
Jayson Tatum (14 points), Marcus Morris (14) and Jaylen Brown (12) all finished in double figures.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 20 points on the night.
The Bucks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals and will await the winner of the Toronto Raptors-Philadelphia 76ers matchup.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
TOUGH START, BETTER FINISH
The Celtics didn’t show a ton of urgency out of the gate, allowing Milwaukee to jump out to a quick 8-0 lead. This, combined with Boston opening 1-for-6 from the floor sparked the Fiserv Forum crowd.
Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris came off the bench and immediately provided a much-needed spark of energy, especially on the defensive end. That defense turned to points, creating a 12-0 Celtics run over 4-plus minutes, but the Bucks would ultimately lead 22-19 after one.
Irving led all scorers with six first-quarter points, but was just 2-for-9 from the field.
TRYING TO HANG ON
Milwaukee used an 7-0 run to extend their lead to 10 early in the second frame. 14 minutes into this one, the Celtics were down to 19.4 percent shooting.
Irving’s ugly shooting night continued, with his shot selection slowly falling to an ugly place. Brad Stevens made the wise decision to move him to the bench, electing to go with a lineup that included Smart, Morris and Gordon Hayward.
The Celtics did manage to hang around, but back-to-back Milwaukee threes helped the Bucks head into halftime with a 13-point lead. Boston shot 13-for-51 in the first half.
Irving had a game-high 13 first-half points. He was 5-of-16 from the floor.
NOW OR NEVER
The Celtics entered the second-half fighting for their playoff lives, and managed to stay within striking distance thanks to a cold start to the third quarter from the Bucks. Unfortunately, they still struggled to get over the hump.
Every time the Celtics would cut the deficit to nine or 10, the Bucks would answer with a run of their own. They simply were too much on both sides of the ball.
Khris Middleton had a game-high 17 points after three quarters.
The fourth quarter began just like this game started — with no life, no energy and poor shooting.
The Celtics ended their rollercoaster season without a fight. All season long we tried to identify this team. They ultimately ended up as a team with no identity, which became their downfall.
PLAY OF THE GAME
There wasn’t many, but this was a nice take.
The NBA Draft Lottery will take place Tuesday, May 14. After that, the real fun of the offseason begins.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images