The Boston Celtics had one of their best games of the season tonight, as they cruised to a 122-114 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The game wasn’t as close as the score suggests, as the Celtics held a comfortable double digit lead for the majority of the second half. It was one of the best shooting performances on the season, as the C’s knocked down 46.8% of their threes, and went through phases of the game where it seemed like they couldn’t miss shots if they tried to. It’s a fantastic win for the C’s over one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and should be a performance they can build off of down the line.
The Celtics controlled the game for most of the first half, and had they not allowed Milwaukee to go on a couple of runs, they probably would have had a bigger lead. Either way, they went into the half with a five point lead, and it was one of their better halves of basketball in recent memory. They were energized defensively, and hitting their shots on the other end too. Tatum, Brown, and Walker all were in double digits, while Marcus Smart also contributed nine points as well.
The Celtics didn’t let off the gas in the third quarter, and came out on fire, dropping 20 points in the first four minutes of the frame. They would eventually go on to put up 43 points in the quarter, and pretty much hit every shot they took. Tatum and Smart combined for 26 of those points, with Tatum in particular hitting tough shot after tough shot throughout the period. Even though the Bucks hit their fair share of tough shots to keep the game respectable, it was no match for the C’s. It was refreshing to finally see the Celtics light it up from the floor the way we’ve expected them to all season long. The Bucks would lurk within striking distance for the rest of the game, but were unable to cool off the C’s and make a run back into the game.
This was easily one of the Celtics best performances in recent memory. It was the first time all season where the Celtics top players were firing on all cylinders at the same time. Tatum led the way with 34 points, while Smart, Walker, and Brown went for 23, 21, and 18 respectively. So often this season the C’s have labored through inconsistent performances from their starters, but tonight they didn’t have to worry about that. It’s how the Celtics played last season on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s a performance that has evaded the Celtics for much of the season.
While the Celtics couldn’t get all five of their starters in double figures, Rob Williams certainly made his mark felt with his inclusion in the starting lineup tonight. With Daniel Theis dealt away at the trade deadline, and Tristan Thompson currently out due to COVID protocols, it opened the door for Williams to get the starting nod. Williams only scored 7 points, but also had 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks, and 2 steals. He poses a dynamic threat in the paint on both ends of the court, in a way that Theis didn’t always offer, and his presence on the court sure seemed to make things easier for those around him. Williams has been playing his tail off for some time now, and it’s great to see him finally force his way into the starting lineup.
While this win is certainly a step in right direction, the Celtics will have to prove it isn’t a one-time performance. They will get a shot right away tomorrow against the Oklahoma City Thunder to prove just that. The C’s will be without Kemba on the second night of a back-to-back, and have typically struggled on the second legs of back-to-backs throughout the season, so it’s a good chance for the Celtics to continue to build off their solid game tonight. The Thunder don’t have the same talent level as the Bucks do, but the Celtics will need to be on the top of their game if they want to get a little win streak going, and try to climb back up the standings.
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