The Boston Celtics had a chance to take a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Milwaukee Bucks before the series shifted to TD Garden, but their offensive woes in Game 2 doomed them Tuesday night.
The Celtics seemed focused going into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bucks. They weren’t getting ahead of themselves after already splitting one of the first two road games of the series, but instead seemed unsatisfied and ready to go up 2-0.
Boston didn’t play as well as they did in Game 1, but was still in a position to win before their cold shooting became too great an obstacle to overcome. Kyrie Irving was especially bad Tuesday night. He finished with nine points on 4-18 shooting (1-5 3P), four assists and three turnovers to go along with a lovely minus-19.
Before Game 2, Irving’s lowest-scoring playoff game was Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, a game he had to leave early due to a season-ending knee injury. It was clear from the start that Boston’s jump shots weren’t falling at the same rate as Game 1. Instead of trusting their system, the Celtics fell into too much iso-ball and let their misses affect their defensive effort.
When the Celtics struggled during the regular season, that was the kind of basketball they played, so they’ll have to make sure they get back to the good habits developed during the Pacers series. Fortunately for them, Irving doesn’t seem too worried about what happened in Game 2 carrying over to Game 3.
Kyrie on feeling the burden of carrying the team: "This is what I signed up for. This is what Boston traded for me for. This is what you live for. This is why you play, for the playoffs."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 1, 2019
Everyone has a bad game, especially in the playoffs. You won’t find a Hall of Famer who didn’t have a rough time in the playoffs at some point during his career. The difference between the great ones and everyone else is how they respond to a bad game. On Friday night, we’ll get to see how great Kyrie is in what should be the biggest game of his Celtics career to date.