The Milwaukee Bucks are, in the plainest and simplest point of fact, a better basketball team than the Boston Celtics.
Milwaukee’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is the legitimate for-real honest-to-gods MVP in the whole league.
And there’s something oddly satisfying (if you’re a Celtics hater) in watching the culmination of Danny Ainge‘s years of wheeling, dealing, scheming, and roster building at the expense of the Nets and Sixers turn out to be Boston advancing just one round further in the playoffs after just seven more regular-season wins than Brooklyn.
The Bucks got their second road win in as many games Monday, taking the game 113-101 as Irving followed up an 8-of-22 stinker in Game 3 with a 7-of-22 stinker in Game 4. Consistency!
Greekazoid had 39 points on 15-of-22 shooting to go with 16 rebounds, Boston shot a putrescent 37.8 percent from the field and 22 percent (9-of-41) from three, and wins in the turnover (11-8) and offensive rebound (11-9) battle gave Milwaukee enough extra possessions to overcome their own poor (44 percent FG, 21.6 percent 3PT, 68 percent FT) shooting.
It wasn’t pretty. But the Celtics are down 3-1 and have to win Game 5 on the road just to force the series back to Bosotn.
It’s funny how these same Celtics made the conference finals when both Irving and Hayward were hurt. If the Celtics lose their minds and fire Brad Stevens, the Pacers should offer him a Powerball jackpot to coach them.
The MVP was DOMINANT in the WIN:
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 7, 2019
Don’t Act So Surprised at the Rockets, National Media
After Houston lost Game 2 in Oakland, falling down 2-0 by a combined margin of just 10 points, national media (The Ringer, looking at you) were ready to write them off, spewing out hot takes and think pieces for clicks as the NBA intentionally drags out the news cycle in the playoffs.
You’ll notice we don’t traffic in such things on Pace and Space. Our overreactions are limited to one-paragraph jokes at breakfast. Because the NBA has a funny habit of instant regression in as much time as it takes the team down 2-0 to go home and win Games 3 and 4.
Granted, not all 2-2 series are created equal (Toronto and Denver in their Game 4s, anyone?), but a team that has seen all four of its games decided by between four and six points? It is a damn shame the league is wasting the NBA Finals on the second round the way it wasted them on the Western Conference Finals last year.
The crazy thing? Durant had 34 in the game and Curry had 30. They just couldn’t finish, and it was one of those games where the other team had more in the tank.
James Harden had 38 points on 13-of-29 from the field and 6-of-17 from three, Eric Gordon had 20 on 6-of-17 overall and a wretched 2-of-12 from three, the Rockets on the whole made 17-of-50 (34 percent) three-point shots…
…but Golden State couldn’t make a three to save their lives, shooting 24.2 percent (8-of-33) as a team, and that’s a paddlin’ at the hands of the other team in a close game.
Sometimes basketball defies analysis and just comes down to who wants it more. And so far, who has wanted it more has been the home crowd for each of the four games.
The game may be played with modern methods and an emphasis on efficient basketball (34 percent from three is still a .510 eFG%, after all), but some things never change.
✔️ Protected homecourt
✔️ 79pts over last 2 games
Harden showed out at home! ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/uPPmGXP2sL
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 7, 2019
Mark my words: The winner of Game 5 will win the series.
Three series are tied. The Celtics…ehhh…nice knowin’ ya, Boston, might want to hit the bait shop on your way to Wisconsin so you can do some lake fishing after the game.
Highlights? Yeah, we’ll have those too, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!