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Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Celtics 113, Bucks 107, OT: Boston outlasts Milwaukee for Game 1 win

Celtics 113, Bucks 107, OT: Boston outlasts Milwaukee for Game 1 win

They've already given us an incredible final sequence. Antetokounmpo poses a greater threat at the offensive end than Horford, and he got the better of his Celtics counterpart when they met earlier in April with 29 points and six assists. The Celtics will need Horford to remain hot heading into the postseason. Guys like Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be called upon to play big minutes but they haven't really done that before. Tatum is now averaging a whopping 13.9 points in his rookie season. In fact, his career averages over 11 seasons are 14.2 ppg and 8.6 rpg. Only Russell Westbrook and LeBron James had more fast-break points this season, but Antetokounmpo's 1.20 points per possession in transition was more efficient than both of them. The two are not used to playoff atmospheres, but it should be interesting to see how they match up with veterans in the playoffs. For most of this year, it was Kyrie Irving's team. Tatum then came down with another defensive rebound on the second missed free throw on a play in which Eric Bledsoe fouled out of the game. Facing the likes of Kyle Lowry, John Wall, and Ben Simmons would be a significant challenge for this group of Celtics guards.

Al Horford and rookie Jason Tatum have risen to the occasion for coach Brad Stevens. They are a better overall team than the Bucks, even in the absence of Irving. It's in his nature to be the consummate team player, which is why he's so respected. Despite this, they could never fully get it going this season and ended with a relatively mediocre, at least given the talent they boast, 44-38 record. However, they have not found a way past the Eastern Conference finals. The surging Sixers could have been their first round opponent if the Bucks had moved up to a six seed, and the Milwaukee squad avoided a repeat of last year's playoff run against the Toronto Raptors by not falling to the eighth seed. That combination of length and versatility can create matchup nightmares against smaller players or slow-footed big men. Against the Celtics, he shot just 6 for 28 from 10 feet or more from the basket. During the regular season, this doesn't cause him too many problems, as he can get into the paint at will - he was the leading paint scorer in the National Basketball Association this season at 15.7 points per game.

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