The Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 116-108 on the road in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series on Monday to even this series at 2-2 heading back to Boston.
This Eastern Conference Semifinals series between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks has been such a fantastic series up to this point.
In Game 4 on Monday, we got yet another spectacular game, as the Celtics erased a 7-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat the Bucks 116-108 on the road.
Jayson Tatum had a great bounce-back game with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but how about Al Horford in this one?
Be sure to raise a glass for Horford because 30 points and 8 rebounds in 42 minutes at 35-years-old is extremely impressive!
Due to their grit and intensity on the defensive-end of the floor, Boston was able to come from behind to steal Game 4 on Monday night, evening up this series at 2-2 and all of a sudden, we have a “Best-of-3” scenario presented to us.
Milwaukee has not looked like their dominant selves with Khris Middleton on the sidelined and now, they will face a tough task trying to regain the lead in this series on the road.
Here are the three key things we learned from Boston’s impressive Game 4 victory.
Khris Middleton is such an important part of the Milwaukee Bucks offensively, as he acts as a “security blanket” at times due to his ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the aggressive player and “attacker” for them offensively, Jrue Holiday is the facilitator and Khris Middleton keeps everything together.
With Middleton out however, the Bucks lose a large chunk of their scoring production, something they are desperately needing against a stifling Celtics’ defense.
Grayson Allen really has not been that effective in this series after having some big games against the Chicago Bulls in the first-round of the playoffs and the Bucks’ coaching staff has really cut back on their rotations.
Pat Connauhgton played 30 minutes off-the-bench in Game 4, George Hill played 23 minutes and Bobby Portis only played 15 minutes due to his shooting struggles.
Against a smaller Celtics’ lineup that got in foul trouble early on, the Bucks continued to play small instead of using their size to their advantage, which ultimately led to their downfall in this one.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were gassed at the end of the game after they both played 41 minutes and the Celtics looked like they could keep going for another 5-10 minutes!
Fatigue is starting to catch up to the Bucks’ stars given all they have had to do in this series and in Game 4, Antetokounmpo and Holiday accounted for close to 58% of the team’s total shot attempts.
Someone is going to have to step up for Milwaukee in this series moving forward, especially since Khris Middleton is likely going to be out for at least another week.
Father Time catches up to every athlete at some point in their career, but Al Horford shut the door on him in Game 4!
Horford looked like his old All-Star self when he was with the Atlanta Hawks years ago, as he poured in 30 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had a monster dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo… Yes, you read that right.
Everything Horford has done in this series has positively impacted the Celtics’ chances of winning and if there was a half-a-second more on the game clock in Game 3, he would have had the game-winner in that game as well!
Offensively or defensively, Al Horford has done his job and he is earning every single penny of his $27.5 million contract.
He plays with heart and has been the veteran leader of the Celtics all season long. Horford is stepping up when it matters most and in this series against Milwaukee, he has been fantastic.
Through four games, Horford is averaging 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and he has shot 14-28 (50%) from three-point range. Recording three double-doubles in four games, Al Horford has been the most impactful player in this Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
Through four games in this series, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday have combined to take just under 58% of the Bucks’ total shots in this series. Giannis is averaging 39.8 minutes per game and Holiday is averaging 38.9 minutes per game against Boston.
Everything the Bucks do on offense flows through Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is fine, but they must get others involved if Milwaukee is going to survive in this series without Khris Middleton.
As mentioned before, the Bucks’ depth has not played that well, but at the same time, Holiday and Antetokounmpo have been struggling to get them involved.
In their two wins against the Celtics, Milwaukee has averaged 21.0 assists per game. In their two losses, the Bucks have averaged 17.0 assists per game.
This “hero-ball” mindset of playing one-on-one all the time with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday has not worked for the Bucks, much like how it has not worked for the Dallas Mavericks in their series against the Phoenix Suns.
Luka Doncic is a great player for the Mavericks, but they lost the first two games of their series because they were exclusively giving the ball to him to play one-on-one every possession on offense. Now that they have others getting involved and Doncic moving the ball, the Mavericks have won two straight games over the Suns to even their Western Conference Semifinals series.
Taking notes from Dallas is something the Bucks really should do in regards to their offense because they are a very similar team with Khris Middleton out.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is an elite-level scorer and Jrue Holiday is a terrific complimentary scoring weapon, but these two alone cannot put the team on their back and beat arguably the best defensive team in the league in the Celtics.
Getting others involved is essential for the Bucks in this series and in Game 4, Milwaukee’s two All-Stars try to put all the burden of winning this game on their backs, leading to their eventual defeat.
Brett Siegel joined FastBreak on Fan Nation in April 2022 after previously covering the NBA for NBA Analysis Network and working with Louisville Basketball, aiding in daily operations, scouting and recruiting. From playing to coaching to covering the game as a credentialed NBA media member, Brett has been involved with the game of basketball from many different perspectives. Breaking the news of Andre Drummond signing with the Lakers in 2021, as well as other key stories around the league, Brett is always on the phone, getting the latest news and rumors around the NBA. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.