By: Kenny Doyle
The Celtics lost 108-100 to the Bucks and fell to 0-2 on the season after an abysmal performance for new star Kyrie Irving. After a decent first game against his former team, Irving struggled to get anything to fall against the Bucks. He was 7-25 from the field and 2-10 in the 4th quarter alone. Unlike last game he didn’t do too well distributing either, ending with just 3 assists. It’s a performance that can only be described as unacceptable from the player that the Celtics are going to rely on night in and night out to lead the team to wins.
When asked about Kyrie’s poor shooting after the game, coach Brad Stevens simply said “I don’t know, you can ask him.” When asked a second time about Kyrie in his press conference Brad changed the subject and refused to give a direct answer. Clearly the whole Celtics team was a bit disappointed with the play of Irving. The Celtics are going to go as Kyrie goes this season and Irving can’t afford to struggle like he did tonight from here on out. Irving can have an off night once in a blue moon, but if he shoots 28% again the Celtics are going to lose. After a game like that you have to ask, can Irving handle being a superstar and carrying a team? We all thought so, but through the first 2 games he’s only proved us wrong. Irving needs to turn it around and fast.
For the Bucks, the story of the game was a masterful performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo. As Jaylen Brown got into foul trouble, the Bucks started force feeding the Greek Freak as you can expect them to do all season with Jabari Parker out for at least the first few months with his torn ACL. Giannis made his early bid for MVP and left the league once again astonished with his length, athleticism, and all around freakishness evidenced by this ridiculous alley oop dunk over Aron Baynes:
Despite the loss, great play from Terry Rozier and another breakout game from Jaylen Brown should not go overlooked. Despite fouling out on what many would say were some questionable foul calls, Jaylen came out and scored 18 and is now averaging 21.5 points per game through the first 2 games. With Hayward out, it’s clear that Brown has stepped up as the one who wants to fill the void on the offensive end. Despite how absurd it is to ask a 2nd year player and 1st year starter in Brown to average over 20 a game for the C’s, Brown shows no signs of slowing down. He’s playing aggressive and looking to attack the rim every time he touches the ball. He’s already an incredible finisher, so if he continues to attack and get the lanes to the basket that he has so far, it’s not hard to imagine him being the Celtics second option for the rest of the season.
Rozier had unquestionably his best game as a pro. He ended with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists on 50% shooting. It was a great game for Terry and with the Celtics having let go of a lot of their depth this offseason, it’s extremely encouraging to see Rozier take charge. If Rozier can continue to be a reliable go to option off the bench it will not only mean another player who can take on some of the scoring load on certain nights, but it could be the thing that potentially keeps Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup long term.
The Celtics next game is Friday in Philadelphia. If they fall to 0-3, it would no doubt turn into a “code red” situation in Boston. The C’s season had such promise and 2 games in the team already has so many questions to answer. How good can this team actually be this season? Are the Celtics still better than Washington, Toronto, and Milwaukee? And is Kyrie Irving ready to be a leader? A win against the Sixers won’t help us much in trying to find the answer to those questions... but a loss could.
Photo: (Boston Herald)