Home Sports Celtics return to dominance on offense, hold Giannis Antetokounmpo in check in win over Bucks

Celtics return to dominance on offense, hold Giannis Antetokounmpo in check in win over Bucks

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It was just one basket in a long game of 91 baskets, but it felt iconic. rice field. The team’s Antetokounmpo, who would have jumped over Boston if his team won, is a two-time MVP and is looking to win the award again.

On this night, however, the Milwaukee star underwhelmed. Tatum marked his 14 on his 22 shots and scored 41 points, leading Boston to a victory he went 139-118.

Antetokounmpo, going 22-9, led the Bucks with 27 points and nine rebounds, but struggled most of the night before making a mini-run when the outcome of the game was essentially decided.

“Honestly, I think that’s a sign of having a really good team,” Tatum said. Okay, that’s fine, there’s nothing you can change about those games, it’s just how you react.”

It was clear that the Celtics had some issues to sort out in the recent skid that saw them lose five of six games, but the level of concern within the organization remained low. Their scorching 3 points The shot was over-corrected to the downside and the situation was not expected to continue.

Boston’s offense on Sunday again resembled what was so dominant at the start of the season. The Celtics had a 58.8% field goal shooting percentage and a 48.7% 3-point line shooting percentage.

“It felt good to be back to how we know how to play,” Tatum said. “We understand emotionally, it’s a long season and we’re going to have some great stretches and some bad stretches. It’s about not letting the bad stuff snowball and get off track sooner or later. , also useful when creating shots.”

Celtics coach Joe Mazura appreciates this ferocious shooting, but understands his team needs to find a way to win when that percentage drops. Even if it did, Boston was able to withstand it thanks to playing elsewhere.

The Celtics disallowed just eight offensive rebounds and 13 second-chance points.

“I think that has to become our team’s identity. Whether we shoot the ball well or not, we’re really working to get those elements consistently,” Mazura said. I was. “And in his last two games, I think we achieved that.”

The Celtics led 62-61 at the start of the 3rd quarter and when Tatum took over, scoring in every way imaginable during his 20-point period, extending Boston’s lead to 62-61 at the start of the 4th quarter. Stretched to 100-86.

The Bucks scored the first five points with Tatum on the bench and drew within nine, but Jaylen Brown (29 points) helped ensure they drew closer. Leading 113-101, he scored 10 points in three minutes and Milwaukee was never a threat again. The Celtics outscored the Bucks 77-57 in the second half.

“With one of the top teams in our league, we had to bring in that kind of effort,” Celtics forward Al Horford said.

The Bucks shot 50 percent from the field, but the Celtics’ improved defense haunted them when it mattered. And it started by throwing waves of defenders at Antetokounmpo before he could find his rhythm.

When Mazura was asked about delaying the Bucks superstar, he named five players who played key roles and said they all played key roles. Switching to a meter shooter, he hit a 3-point shot that almost didn’t go in.

His frustration seemed to boil over in the final minutes of the game, when he fell to the ground after hitting a brown screen, jumped and shoved a Boston forward, resulting in a technical foul.

Celtics forward Grant Williams said, “He does the same thing, just doing his best to play with his natural physical ability.” So is.”

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. follow him on twitter @adamhimmelsbach.

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