The Milwaukee Bucks looked every bit like the best team in the East on Friday, defeating the Boston Celtics 123-116 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 32 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to go with three blocks and two steals, and Milwaukee’s shooters came through at better than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.
The game was tight through the first half but Milwaukee created some separation with a 40-point third quarter. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 29 points and six assists, but just didn’t get enough help, particularly from Boston’s bench. Below are some takeaways from Game 3.
Giannis is just too much
There are things you can try to do to slow down Giannis, and Boston did a lot of them in the first two games. Everyone shading toward him, surrounding him in transition, building walls in the lane. But at a certain point, the guy is just absolutely relentless going downhill and even the most disciplined defensive schemes eventually wilt against his will to get to the basket.
Giannis went for 32 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals. He shot 8 of 13 from the field. Boston was physical, but Giannis just kept coming, taking the contact, getting the line 22 times and knocking down 16 free throws.
In the regular season, lanes were constantly open to the rim for Giannis with Milwaukee’s spacing, but in the playoffs, those lanes are opening and closing in an instant. In Game 3, every time Giannis saw even the slightest opening, he went. No hesitation. Watch here as he sees Semi Ojeleye boxed out by George Hill, and the only other defender who can meet him at the rim is Marcus Morris, who is on the opposite block. Boom. Giannis goes and gets to the rim before Morris can rotate.
After Game 2, I highlighted that Giannis is becoming a legitimate 3-point threat. This is when you know it’s real, when a disciplined defender like Al Horford is threatened enough by Giannis shooting he bites on a pump fake. Then Giannis did this:
Giannis reasserted himself as the clear best player in this series in Game 3, and the Bucks, in turn, reestablished themselves as the better team.
George Hill was phenomenal for Milwaukee. With Malcolm Brogdon out, Hill has been called upon and he answered in Game 3 with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting off the bench. Same goes for Pat Connaughton, who finished with 14 points and seven boards on 5-of-11 shooting. Combined, Hill and Connaughton shot 6 of 12 from three. The Celtics’ bench, by contrast, scored just 16 points total. Terry Rozier got blanked. All told the Bucks won the bench battle by 26 points in a seven-point game. Do the math.
The Bucks dominated the paint on both ends. That’s how they win. But in Games 1 and 2, that advantage was taken away from them with the way the Celtics were gravitating to that area with multiple bodies even before Giannis started his drives, Boston, a high-volume jump-shooting team, outscored the Bucks in the paint in the first two games. That couldn’t continue.
In Game 3, Giannis just didn’t care what was in front of him. As stated above, he made his moves quicker before Boston was in position. As a whole, the Bucks pushed the pace and got downhill in transition, and their secondary playmakers consistently beat their men off the dribble. It added up to 52 points in the paint, by far their highest total of the series and a plus-28 advantage on the Celtics.
Recap of live updates
CBS Sports was with you throughout Game 3 between the Bucks and Celtics. If you are unable to view the live application below,.
No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 4 Boston Celtics
How to watch Game 4
- Date: Monday, May 6
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: TD Garden — Boston, Massachusetts
- TV channel: TNT
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: fuboTV (try it for free)
- Odds: N/A
Odds and Analysis
Check Sportsline’s NBA pick sheet for all your daily odds.
Who wins the 2019 NBA Finals? And which massive long shot can go all the way? Visit SportsLine now to see who you should back to win the NBA Finals, all from the proven model that is up more than $4,000 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.