Facing elimination in Game 5 on Wednesday, the Boston Celtics failed to rise to the challenge as the Bucks blew them out once again, 116-91, in the process punching their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Milwaukee was in control from the opening tip, though the Celtics did manage a few runs at various points to keep it interesting. Still, they were never quite able to overcome many of the same issues that have hindered them all series, namely a lack of consistency on defense and an inability to execute their offense in way that effectively engages the considerable talent they have amassed.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was his usual dominant self as put up 20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and a pair of blocks, one of which came on this play against Al Horford in the first half as he swatted his shot into the cheap seats as he tried to make his way into the lane.
George Hill also had a solid night in their closeout game in Milwaukee, scoring 16 points off the bench and throwing down this beautiful alley-oop jam early in the fourth quarter, putting an exclamation point on the blowout.
Altogether, the Bucks had seven players in double figures scoring as they dismantled a listless Boston team that was just never able to figure it, despite a big win in Game 1 of the series on the Bucks’ home turf.,
Kyrie Irving, who’s taken a tremendous amount of criticism for both his play and his comments, struggled once again in this one as his team was sent home early despite the huge expectations they put on themselves this season to make a Finals run. Irving went 6-of-21 from the field, including 1-of-7 from downtown, to finish with just 15 points on the night.
He and the Celtics now face an uncertain future as his free agency looms this summer, despite his preseason declaration he wanted to come back.
Meanwhile, the Bucks have plenty to celebrate while they await the outcome of the other Eastern Conference Semifinals series between Philly and Toronto.