NBA playoffs: In the series opener, the Celtics threw out Game 1 and the Warriors beat the Grizzlies in their own game

In the days leading up to Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee dollarsthe Boston Celtics prepared for a different challenge than the one they had just completed. Unlike the brooklyn nets, the Bucks are a huge physical defense-focused team. While injuries have caused Brooklyn to often play three guards no taller than 6-foot-3, Milwaukee has responded to by Khris Middleton injury starting three big, none shorter than 6-10.

The Celtics had reason to be confident in their offense. Before dispatching the undersized and outclassed Nets by scoring 119.2 points per 100 possessions in four games, they had scored 118.5 per 100, the second best in the league, in the last 43 games of the season regular, a period in which they went 33-10. Milwaukee has several top defensemen, “but we think we have favorable games on some of their guys as well,” coach Ime Udoka said shortly before the start of Game 1.

And then Boston had its worst offensive game in more than six months, opening the series by scoring a nasty 89 points per 100 possessions. The Celtics’ only more putrid performance this season was on October 22 against the Toronto Raptorsa game in which they lost by 32 points and their home fans booed them.

It’s one thing to intellectually realize that you’re going through a tougher test every time you pick up the ball. It’s another thing to get on the pitch and feel it.

“I think their physicality more than anything caught us off guard,” Udoka said after the 101-89 loss.

Udoka said that, in a way, it’s “good to get rid of that miss offensively – to lose a game by 12 points when we played badly offensively, I think that bodes well for we”.

The Celtics’ half-court defense was on point. They protected the paint, forced Milwaukee to take shots from mid-range and held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 24 points on 9-for-25 shooting. However, they couldn’t find a rhythm when they had the ball, at least until the fourth quarter in which they created a pile of 3 open on back-to-back possessions, how far too late it was.

Sometimes they just lacked beauty. Other times they forced the wrong ones, both in the paint (where they shot 10 for 31) and 3-pointers (where they shot 18 for 50). What doomed Boston, however, was the stream of turnovers, many of which led to buckets for the Bucks.

In the first quarter, a bad pass from Jaylen Brown resulted in a pull-up 3 for Holiday Jrueand two of Derrick White resulted in a lay-up for Bobby Portis and catch-and-shoot 3 for Jevon Carter:

In the second trimester, Wesley Matthews and Grayson Allen swept the 3 wide open on two Brown turnovers. The first was a misguided drive in transition, the second a misplaced pocket pass:

In the second half, Holiday forced Smart to a turnover nearly half the field, leading to a Portis jumper; Holiday hit a pull-up 2 after Al Horford bobbed an entry pass; and Holiday hit another pull-up 3 after picking up a Horford pass intended for Jayson Tatum:

These clips represent eight of Boston’s 18 turnovers and 21 of Milwaukee’s 27 turnovers. The Bucks, meanwhile, committed 14 turnovers, and the Celtics converted them in just six points. Related: Milwaukee had a 28-8 advantage in quick break points.

“It’s on us,” Brown said. “We have to be ready for their physicality. And they hit us in the mouth early and set the tone.”

Udoka, Brown and Tatum all said the Bucks “speeded up” the Celtics, making it difficult to get into their sets and pushing them into bad decisions. Brown said Boston needed to “be the smarter team” going forward, while Tatum said the team was “too careless” and needed to be more decisive.

“I don’t think we played with the best composure overall,” Udoka said.

After losing home-court advantage, the Celtics seemed confident they’ll play more like themselves when they return to TD Garden on Tuesday. Milwaukee’s size, length and commitment to protecting the rim make it tough to score on the inside, but they know they can crumble the defense and create high percentage looks as long as their spacing is correct and they do the right readings. Under duress, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

“It’s not easy to play in the playoffs, and it takes focus, it takes execution,” Horford said, adding that Boston was doing very well in those areas through Sunday. “It’s just that we have to stick together and be better.”


A few minutes from the third quarter Golden State Warriors‘ opens the series against the Memphis GrizzliesESPN’s broadcast gave viewers a sneak peek into Coach Steve Kerr’s caucus.

“All five on the glass, every time,” Kerr told the players. “We’re keeping the possession game even, you can see that – we’re getting some open looks here.”

Draymond Green was ejected late in the first half, but Golden State took the lead with a mini run. To keep it going, the Warriors would have to keep hitting the glass and avoid giving Memphis too many extra chances.

The Grizzlies had the second best regular season record in the NBA despite being 22nd in half court, according to Cleaning The Glass. They didn’t do it just by scoring filthy victories; he built an elite offense from second-chance points and transition play. In Game 1 against Golden State, however, they didn’t earn their usual advantages. Memphis attempted two more field goals than the Warriors, Golden State scored two more second-chance points, and both teams scored the same number of points on turnovers. It all added up to a 117-116 victory for the Warriors.

During his postgame interview on NBC Sports Bay AreaKerr said: “One of the keys to this series is the possession game. We have to bounce back, and we did that tonight. We got past them 50-47. And we have to stay close to turnovers and, hopefully win the turnover battle. In the regular season, they hammered us in the possession game. He noted that in one of their regular season encounters – the 116-108 win for the Grizzlies Jan. 11 — Golden State attempted 18 fewer field goals than their opponents “It’s hard to beat a really good team that way.”

The Warriors have always been deadly in transition, and this season they’ve forced turnovers at an above-average rate. However, they were downright average on the offensive glass, and even that is a significant achievement compared to how they performed in this category earlier in the Kerr era. In this particular game, however, they will smash the boards more aggressively, to minimize Memphis’ edge advantage.

On Sunday, Andre Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr., Jonathan Kuminga, Gary PaytonII and Jordan Poole all contributed tip-ins and putbacks:

Stephen Curry and Poole both went 3 seconds after Golden State recovered missed jumpers:

And the Warriors even grabbed an offensive board on a missed free throw, an extra possession that ended with Wiggins scoring two of their 56 points in the paint.

Grizzly Star Ja Morant began the press conference by lamenting all the second chance points they had given up: Jaren Jackson Jr.. said they just had to “find a way to get to the ball,” even when Golden State shoots deep 3s.

“Playing those guys, we understand that we have to run more to the elbows to get the rebounds,” Memphis said. De’Anthony Melton mentioned. “And box first and hit ’em first because they’ve got guys that like to bounce back and try to make those 50-50 plays every time.”

Kerr moved Looney to the bench in Game 5 of Golden State’s first-round series against the Denver nuggets, replacing the wise center with the ascendant Poole. Payton took Poole’s place in the starting lineup against the Grizzlies, and Looney only played six minutes before Green was ejected. Even when the Warriors are playing small, the coaching staff expects them to fight for the boards.

“It requires all of our guards to lock in and make sure they’re boxing and chasing the rebound,” Kerr said.

Golden State needed all the extra chances they could get with one of their stars limited to 17 minutes, and Payton offered four offensive boards, Poole and Wiggins three each. If the nearly even possession game is a triumph for a Warriors team trying to follow Kerr’s game plan, then so is the narrow victory. Now Memphis has to grapple with how he missed a huge opportunity.

“I can’t allow them a second chance or open looks,” Morant said. “And they practically made us pay for it.”

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