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March 4, 2024

Bucks Rout Fatigued Celtics 135-102 in Dominant Fashion

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Jan 12, 2024

The Milwaukee Bucks put on an absolute clinic as they dismantled the league-leading Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night. Coming off a tough overtime loss against the Wizards the night before, the fatigued Celtics simply had no answers for the Bucks’ offensive onslaught.

Bucks Catch Fire in Second Quarter

The game remained close in the first quarter, with the Bucks holding just a 31-28 lead. However, Milwaukee caught fire in the second frame, torching the Celtics for a whopping 46 points to take a 77-50 lead into halftime.

Bobby Portis led the Bucks’ charge with 28 points on blistering 12-of-15 shooting. Giannis Antetokounmpo was also dominant with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in just the first half. The Celtics looked utterly exhausted trying to keep up with the Bucks’ pace and energy.

According to TNT’s broadcast, at one point Milwaukee went on a staggering 25-0 run to break the game wide open. The Bucks shot a scorching 65% from the field while holding Boston to just 38%. It was among the most lopsided quarters of basketball between two contenders in recent memory.

Historic Halftime Deficit for Celtics

Facing a 27-point halftime deficit was the largest for the Celtics at the midway point in 25 years. It was clear Boston had nothing left in the tank on the second night of a back-to-back. At that point, head coach Joe Mazzulla decided to wave the white flag.

Largest Halftime Deficits in Celtics History
Opponent Deficit
Milwaukee Bucks – Jan. 11, 2024 27 points
Indiana Pacers – April 28, 1991 26 points
Philadelphia 76ers – May 18, 1985 24 points

Mazzulla took the extremely rare step of benching his starters for the entire second half rather than extend their minutes in a meaningless game. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford would not see the floor again.

Starters Get Extended Rest Day After OT Game

Given Mazzulla’s reputation for riding his stars heavy minutes, it was a prudent move to rest them. Letting the reserves mop up duty protected the Celtics from unnecessary injury risk. No doubt the extra rest will pay dividends when Boston resumes its championship quest against the Warriors this weekend.

However, the decision also opened Mazzulla up to some criticism. Inside the NBA analysts questioned why the coach didn’t pull his starters earlier if he intended to sit them the whole second half. Charles Barkley noted Gregg Popovich has strategically rested players over the years without “embarrassing them” by waiting until they face a 40-point deficit.

Bucks Showcase Dominant Firepower

While the Celtics mailed it in after halftime, the show went on for Milwaukee. The Bucks kept pouring it on despite the lack of resistance, showcasing how explosive their offense can be when firing on all cylinders.

Antetokounmpo finished with a ho-hum line of 18 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in just 27 minutes. But it was his co-stars that did the heavy lifting in this one. Portis led all scorers with 28 points on 66% shooting. Jrue Holiday flirted with a triple-double of 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in his first game back from injury. Meanwhile, reserves Grayson Allen (17 points) and Thanasis Antetokounmpo (9 points, 11 rebounds) also contributed in the winning effort.

When role players like Portis, Allen and Thanasis perform at that level to supplement the All-Star trio of Giannis, Holiday and Khris Middleton, the Bucks are extremely tough to beat. Their cumulative firepower can overwhelm virtually any opponent, especially a gassed one playing on short rest like the Celtics.

Statement Win for Bucks After Recent Struggles

The blowout win was a much-needed statement by Milwaukee on the heels of some recent struggles. The Bucks had lost five of their last seven games, including defeats against inferior teams like the Pistons and Hornets. Questions were swirling about their ability to compete with the elite teams in the East like Boston and Brooklyn.

However, they delivered an emphatic reminder of just how dangerous they can be when everything clicks. After the Celtics embarrassed them 139-118 just three weeks ago, this 50-point payback was the ultimate redemption. It reasserted the Bucks’ status as a legitimate contender and showed they still have another gear in the postseason.

No doubt the defending champion Bucks will use this rout as fuel and confidence moving forward. Meanwhile, the league-leading Celtics can chalk it up as an aberration and turn their focus towards playoff preparation. Given the likelihood these two juggernauts clash again with an NBA Finals berth on the line, basketball fans should be salivating at thepossibilities.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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