NBA Playoffs – On Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Boston Celtics 116-91 in Game 5 and advance to the Eastern Conference finals. The last time Milwaukee reached this stage of the postseason was way back in 1974.
The Bucks led from start to finish and it was actually a bit surprising that the Celtics, Kyrie Irving especially, did not attack the game with the “Do-or-Die urgency” that it deserved. That was the only opening that Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks needed to put the series away 4-1, ending the Celtics’ 2018-19 season.
As usual, Antetokounmpo led the charge in this game, flirting with a triple-double to the tune of 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists with two steals and two blocks. The Herd got a boost from one its elder statesmen in George Hill, who was excellent off the bench, producing 16 points, three rebounds and three treys in 21 minutes. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe added 19 and 18 points, respectively.
On Boston’s side, there was very little to cheer for. Kyrie Irving was shut down once again as he was limited to scoring 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting from the field. His leadership and ability to carry, or at least spearhead Boston’s effort will likely be called into question in the aftermath of this unexpected early exit. Irving, who can opt out of his contract and hit free agency this summer, might have just played his final game in a Celtics uniform. Perhaps, in the end, he and the organization were did not have the right fit. Jason Tatum had an almost equally forgettable night with 14 points on 3-of-10 shooting with six rebounds and two assists.
Veteran Marcus Morris, who was sent back to a reserve role when the game began in favor of Aron Baynes, was the only Celtic who appeared to take the court with passion and a hunger to win. They were out of it. they knew it. Early. And they checked out and did not play their best basketball.
The Bucks now await the winner of the series between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors, which the Raptors currently lead 3-2.
In the second game of the evening, the Golden State Warriors took a 3-2 lead in their series against the Houston Rockets with a 104-99 victory in Game 5. Klay Thompson led the team with 27 points and Stephen Curry added 25 of his own.
The Warriors lost Kevin Durant in the third quarter after the All-Star forward suffered what was diagnosed as a right calf strain. An MRI is expected to be scheduled as soon as possible. Durant has been the primary scorer for the Warriors in this series, and pretty much the whole postseason, so if he does miss time, Curry and Thompson will have to find a way to rain down a ton of threes in Houston.
James Harden scored a game-high 31 points with a full stat line, but teammate Eric Gordon struggled in the first half (shooting 0-for-7), making it difficult for them to mount a reliable comeback in the fourth quarter.
Chris Paul had a rough shooting night, going 3-for-14 from the field en route to his 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The Durant injury is a big deal and we will have to see what kind of adjustments coach Steve Kerr will make in order for the Warriors to close out the series in Game 6.