The season is over for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Grant Williams torched the nets from three scoring 27 points, Jayson Tatum added 23 and the Boston Celtics successfully ended the Bucks season with a convincing 109-81 win in game-seven of the eastern conference semifinals at TD Garden.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 25.
“Give a lot of credit, a lot of respect to the Boston players, the coaching staff – Coach Udoka. Phenomenal job,” Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game. “Ton of respect for them. Wish them the best going forward. They were the better team.”
It was a dismal display of outside shooting for the Bucks who connected on just 4 of 33 three-point shots (12.1%). By comparison, the Celtics stroked 22 of 55 from deep (40%) with Williams hitting 7 of 18.
“Tatum and Brown have been very effective in this series,” Budenholzer added. “Felt like trying to reduce theirs as much as we could and give Brook an opportunity to have a huge impact on the game. Credit Williams. He made enough.”
Budenholzer’s defensive game plan dared Celtics role players to shoot open threes. The plan backfired when Williams and reserve guard Peyton Pritchard combined for 11 makes.
“We tried our best switching. We tried our best shooting people down into the paint and then trying to veer back,” explained Jrue Holiday about altering the defensive game plan on the fly. “They caught fire. They played well.”
WTMJ’s Greg Matzek was at the game:
Leading 26-20 after the first quarter, the Bucks lead turned into a two-point deficit when the Celtics produced a 12-4 run. As empty possessions piled up for the Bucks, the Celtics closed the quarter with a 16-6 run to take a 48-43 halftime lead.
The Celtics came out smoking in the third making their first five shots – including a trio of threes. Less than three minutes into the second half the Celtics five-point halftime lead grew to twelve (61-49) forcing Budenholzer to call a timeout.
The Bucks deficit would remain double digits the rest of the game. The Celtics outscored the Bucks 61-38 in the second half to win going away.
“I’m upset with the loss. I’m upset with losing the series,” Holiday continued. “I’m proud of my teammates, I’m proud of the coaching staff, proud of the organization. I’m so proud to be here…can’t wait for the future, but I’m still hurt by not advancing,” he concluded.
The Bucks played the entire series without Khris Middleton, the team’s second leading scorer. As the series wore on, the Bucks missed Middleton’s shot-making ability more and more.
“Every team goes through something. Nobody feels sorry for us,” Budenholzer stated matter of fact. “We weren’t as healthy as we’d like to be, but nobody cares.”
“We could have used him,” Holiday continued. “He makes some big shots, big plays on both ends – especially the offensive end…yeah…he’s missed.”
As a team, the Bucks averaged just 97 points per game over seven games with Giannis and Holiday scoring over half of the Bucks 685 points.
“Without Khris, we feel like it would be a different story,” according to Giannis. “We gave everything we had, we left everything out there. I could not be more proud of the guys.”
Giannis ended the first half three assists shy of a triple double (17-12-7). He ended the game one assist shy of a triple double (25-20-9).
With the win, the Celtics advance to the eastern conference finals where they will face the top-seeded Miami Heat in a best-of-seven series beginning Tuesday night.
“Boston deserves the credit tonight…they’re a hell of a team,” Budenholzer finished.