While several players stepped up, the Boston Celtics ultimately fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in their season restart opener in Walt Disney World.
While the Boston Celtics made their triumphant return to the hardwood to partake in an actual regular-season game, not many things broke their way in a 119-112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night at the HP Fieldhouse in Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports.
The main story down the stretch of what was a back and forth game was the officiating. Most notably, an overturned foul call on Giannis Antetokounmpo–which would have been his sixth, resulting in a DQ–allowed the Bucks’ reigning MVP to remain in the game for the final 1:30 and put the nail in the coffin for the C’s.
That said, the Celtics showed backbone in rallying from a 15-2 deficit in the opening minutes to keep the game neck and neck for the majority of the contest. The bench played well and the majority of the starters did their part.
Here are the Houdini’s game grades for their reopening night loss to the Bucks:
Jayson Tatum’s grade: F
Friday night was a rough one for budding superstar Jayson Tatum. Being guarded primarily by Antetokounmpo resulted in a 2-15 night. Worse yet, one of those buckets was the result of an inadvertent tip-in after a Tatum missed 3-pointer.
While he was able to get to his spots on the floor, Tatum struggled to get anything to go down. This was a setback, but don’t expect Tatum to continue to be this futile. If anything, perhaps such a dud game was due before the first-time All-Star kicks it into high gear before the playoffs.
Jaylen Brown’s grade: B-
Jaylen Brown didn’t have the most efficient night (6-15, 3-10 from the 3-point line), but he did provide 22 crucial points. With Tatum struggling, Brown provided the offensive boost in the starting lineup to keep the game close.
Marcus Smart’s grade: A
With a game-high 23 points, Marcus Smart was the adrenaline shot the C’s needed to climb out of their early hole. While he tied the game-high of four turnovers for the C’s, his timely shooting and efficiency (7/11 and 3/6 from the 3-point line) changed the direction of the game after a lifeless start.
Brad Wanamaker’s grade: A+
With 14 points, six rebounds and two steals, Brad Wanamaker made a convincing case to be the first point guard off the bench. Wanamaker had a team-high +14 box plus/minus and contributed double his usual scoring output.
Daniel Theis’ grade: B+
He didn’t shoot well (5/13) but Daniel Theis‘ 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks provided stability to a Boston Celtics frontcourt that contributed two points otherwise.
Gordon Hayward’s grade: B
Gordon Hayward had the best BPM of any starter at -4, but he also had the most impressive stat line overall: 17/9/6 on perfect 5-5 free-throw shooting. Unfortunately, he also had four turnovers.
Kemba Walker’s grade: A
You couldn’t ask for a better game from Kemba Walker given the circumstances. After it was announced that the C’s would be imposing a minutes restriction on their max-contract star, Walker wasn’t expected to drop 16 points in 19 minutes off of 5-9 shooting from the field and 3-6 shooting from the 3-point line.
If he can continue this torrid pace when his minutes ramp up, he can elevate the C’s ceiling…hopefully, high enough to overcome the Bucks in seven games.