Game 2 of the No. 2-No. 3 Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks Eastern Conference series will speak plenty to first-year head coach Ime Udoka’s ability to make adjustments when his back is up against the wall.
Milwaukee showcased a shut-down defensive scheme that forced 4/5ths of the C’s starting lineup to shoot inefficiently. Few played well in the series opener, and for that, there’s considerable pressure to change things immediately.
Without Khris Middleton, the Bucks figured to be an easier opponent than even Brooklyn. Milwaukee defends far too well for that to be the case. Jrue Holiday played the hero role in a game-high 25-point effort. It was as balanced a performance as there was on Sunday as he collected nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
The tide has every chance of turning in this series, but there will need to be timely performances from players that didn’t step up to the plate the first go-round. These 5 Boston Celtics could be in line more playing time and provide that timely glue-guy game needed to extend the series:
Boston Celtics PG Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart just couldn’t catch a break during the first game of a 2018 and 2019 postseason series rematch with the defending champions. He had a hurt shoulder and knee, and couldn’t showcase his newly-dyed green hair as much as he likely would have liked.
Game 2 figures to be kinder to the NBA’s 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year. 36-40 minutes is more likely for the borderline must-win matchup, especially considering Payton Pritchard’s struggles on Sunday.