On the brink of elimination Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics couldn’t shoot themselves out of a 3-1 series hole against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Even if they could shoot, a lack of effort doomed this team. It really was a pathetic overall performance from Brad Stevens squad.
On the other hand, Milwaukee coasted to a series win in five games. The final score of 116-91 doesn’t even do it justice. These Bucks are a better team. They might be the NBA title favorites.
These are among the top takeaways from Milwaukee’s 25-point series-clinching Game 5 win.
Neither team could get going early
As Irving and his Celtics struggled from the field, Milwaukee couldn’t gain any separation in front of its home fans. The two teams shot a combined 13-of-48 from the field in the first quarter.
For his part, Irving was just 2-of-9 shooting in the opening stanza. This came after he shot just 31% from the field over the past three games. Despite these struggles, the Celtics found themselves down just three heading into the second quarter.
Celtics, quite simply, mailed it in
With an exception of maybe Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart, the Celtics were simply going through the motions Wednesday night. They seemingly had no intention of returning this series to Boston for Game 6. That might seem harsh. But Irving and Co. were not interested in this game. Their lack of effort and hustle throughout the four quarters magnified that.
One really has to wonder what this means for Brad Stevens’ future in Boston. He did not have his team anywhere near ready to play in this one. What could be a summer of change might not be limited to the roster.
Giannis didn’t need to do much
A clear sign that these Bucks might be the team to beat, Antetokounmpo didn’t really have to do much in a blowout 25-point win over Boston Wednesday night. The Greek Freak took a grand total of six shots in the first half. It’s a number that was surpassed by Nikola Mirotic, Khris Middleton and reserve George Hill.
Giannis ultimately finished just 5-of-15 from the field with four turnovers. In no way did that matter. In fact, the MVP candidate was plus-33 in his 31 minutes. Talk about doing a lot without really doing much.
Celtics youngsters failed them big time
There’s been some push back in recent months surrounding the availability of youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in trades. Most of that has come from general manager Danny Ainge and Co. That might change after what we saw from the two Wednesday night.
Tatum and Brown combined for five points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first half alone. That’s one of the reasons Milwaukee enjoyed a double-digit lead. It didn’t get much better from there. The two ultimately shot 6-of-19 from the field and were a combined minus-41. Ouch.
The Bucks are just a better team
We can talk about Boston’s lack of effort in Game 5. We can go as far to say that head coach Brad Stevens should be on the hot seat. All of that is fine and dandy. What the five game set between these two teams displayed was rather obvious. The Bucks are a vastly better team.
Even with Giannis failing to dominate in Game 5, others stepped up for Milwaukee. That included the bench going for 50 points. These Bucks are the most well-rounded team in the NBA right now. And it could very well lead to a championship parade in Wisconsin next month.
This seemed to be the end of the Irving era
It sure looks like Kyrie Irving’s tenure in Boston ended with a thud. He was pulled from a 20-point game with less than eight minutes remaining after hitting on 6-of-21 shots with one assist and three turnovers in 33 minutes.
If this is in fact the way Irving’s career with the Celtics ends, it has to be considered a sour note for both the NBA champion and his team. Irving ultimately hit on 30% of his shots over the final four games of the series. As his Celtics were giving up, the All-Star might have had his sights already set on Brooklyn. Ouch!