Boston Celtics

Celtics-Bucks takeaways: Milwaukee's hot shooting snaps C's win streak

The Bucks gave the Celtics a taste of their own medicine on Tuesday.

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The Boston Celtics' five-game win streak was snapped in lopsided fashion Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

It was a dominant performance from start to finish for the Bucks, who led by as many as 24 points in their 104-91 victory. That's the largest deficit the Celtics have faced since they trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by 36 on Jan. 27. Their biggest deficit of the season (43) also came in Milwaukee back on Jan. 11.

The Bucks snapped their four-game losing skid behind a stellar 3-point shooting performance (47.2 percent). All five of their starters scored in double figures, including Patrick Beverley (20 points) and Brook Lopez (15 points).

The Celtics were undermanned in the frontcourt with Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford getting the night off. It was a rough offensive night for Boston with only Jayson Tatum (22 points) and Jrue Holiday (12 points) reaching double-digit scoring.

The Celtics (62-17) will return home to host the New York Knicks (46-32) on Thursday night. First, here are three takeaways from Tuesday's defeat.

Bucks catch fire from deep

Milwaukee gave Boston a taste of its own medicine in Tuesday's matchup.

Bucks big man Brook Lopez set the tone with a 4-for-5 first quarter from 3-point range. As a team, Milwaukee shot 8-of-10 from beyond the arc in the opening frame.

The Celtics, usually the superior shooting squad, couldn't keep up with the Bucks' 3-point barrage. Milwaukee shot 55.5 percent (10-18) from long range in the first half to Boston's 27 percent (5-18).

That's how the rest of the game went as the C's shot an uncharacteristic 32.7 percent (17-52) from 3 and 39.8 percent overall. The Bucks finished an impressive 47.2 percent (17-36) on 3s and 53.1 percent from the floor. Lopez (5-8 3-PT) and Patrick Beverley (4-8) were the main culprits for Milwaukee.

Giannis goes down

Everything was going the Bucks' way until the third quarter when superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo went to the floor holding his left calf. The two-time NBA MVP was helped off the floor by his teammates before limping back to the locker room under his own power.

The Bucks later announced Antetokounmpo would not return due to a left calf strain. He had 15 points (7-11 FG), eight rebounds, seven assists, two blocks, and a steal before the injury.

After the game, Bucks coach Doc Rivers told reporters that Antetokounmpo will undergo an MRI to determine the injury's severity.

Suffice it to say, losing Antetokounmpo for an extended period would be catastrophic for the second-place Bucks with the postseason looming. Even if the injury turns out to be minor, it would be wise for Rivers to sit his star for the team's final three regular-season matchups.

The Celtics cut the Bucks' lead to 11 with a 12-5 run after Antetokounmpo's injury. Unfortunately for Boston, it couldn't carry that momentum into the fourth quarter, resulting in its first defeat since March 28 in Atlanta.

Letting them play

When the 2023-24 Celtics make history, it's usually because of their scoring. On Tuesday though, they entered the record books with a bizarre stat.

Boston became the first team in NBA history to play a game without a free-throw attempt. The one shooting foul called against the Bucks was overturned due to a challenge. But before you go pointing fingers at the officials for favoring Milwaukee, the Bucks attempted just two shots from the charity stripe. Only one free throw was made the entire game.

It's not like this wasn't a physical matchup, either. Several plays probably should have resulted in more trips to the free-throw line. For whatever reason, the referees opted to swallow their whistles.

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