As you all may know, the Celtics embarrassed the number “one” seeded Milwaukee Bucks in game one of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Bucks were the best team in the NBA all season, but game one sure pointed out some flaws with them. The Bucks live and die with their MVP player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they sure did die when he wasn’t enough to get them past the Celtics yesterday.
Unstoppable is an understatement when it comes to Giannis’ play. But yesterday, he was flat out stopped and the Bucks looked lost. Granted he’s only 24 and has been a top-two player all year, but yesterday he looked like an inexperienced playoff player. Right, sounds hard to believe from an MVP candidate.
What makes Giannis so unstoppable is the difficulty to cover him in the full court. He’s seven feet tall, has a wingspan the size of a pick-up truck, is as fast as a cheetah, and is a FREAK athlete. What makes him different than fellow MVP candidate James Harden is that he’s not as good in the half-court. And this is where the Celtics capitalized on his weakness.
In the year 2019, 32-year-old Al Horford outplayed the 24-year-old MVP candidate. Horford was nothing less than unstoppable and had an amazing game to lead the Celtics to a 22 point victory.
Despite Horford’s great offensive day, it was his defense on Giannis that was the most appreciated. Kudos to Horford using his veteran and playoff experience on a younger more athletic player. In the previous series with Detroit, Giannis made Thon Maker look like a local YMCA player, but Thon Maker is no Al Horford.
Yes, Maker is taller than Horford but his lack of experience is what allowed the Greek Freak to dominate in that series. But that doesn’t look like it’s going to fly in this one with the Celtics. Horford has been there before and even last season Horford used his experience on the young Giannis. Horford and the Celtics knew they had to get Giannis to beat them in the half-court.
The Celtics allowed Giannis to shot, which he can’t, in order to beat them. If Giannis was allowed to do his usual “I’m gonna out run you to the basket” type play then this game would have been a whole lot different. But once again thank you playoff Al!
We took care of business in Game 1 thanks to a dominant effort from Al Horford at both ends of the court. pic.twitter.com/xn6IkQ99v2
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 28, 2019
This is how the Celtics can have an easier series with the Bucks. They need Al Horford to use that veteran experience and to play Giannis tough, and not allow him to be his usual freak of nature.
-John McCormack (@Uncle_Mac4)