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|Length and athleticism make the Milwaukee Bucks a dangerous team with the ball.
When they defend the way they did on Friday night against the Boston Celtics Tyrone Crawford Jersey , they’re nearly unstoppable.
Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 and the Bucks used a dominating first half to overwhelm the Celtics 116-92, narrowing their deficit in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.
Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 for the energized Bucks, who held the Celtics without a field goal for nearly an 11-minute stretch of the first half.
Milwaukee found its defense after a disheartening 14-point loss in Game 2, getting contributions from up and down the roster.
”We realized how important this game was … Everybody that played came in ready to go,” Antetokounmpo said.
Backup center Thon Maker scored 14 points and had five of the Bucks’ 12 blocks. Pesky guard Matthew Dellavedova, a veteran of a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helped hold young Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting.
The Bucks were the aggressors all night long.
”The activity, if you take the stat sheet out of it, the activity and the energy that we brought … as you go through the game, that’s what you need, is the energy first Stephen Curry Jersey ,” coach Joe Prunty said.
Al Horford scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell behind by 23 at halftime and got no closer than 76-62 with 3:06 left in the third quarter on Jayson Tatum’s 3-pointer.
The game was so well in hand that the Bucks closed out the victory with Antetokounmpo on the bench for much of the fourth quarter with five fouls. Middleton had eight points in the fourth.
Game 4 is Sunday in Milwaukee. The Celtics will need to get off to a much better start if they want to avoid going home with a 2-2 series tie.
”We got into a hole. This is new for our group,” Horford said. ”They had it going … and we really didn’t have an answer for them tonight.”
Milwaukee hustled for loose balls and stayed active around the paint, using its length to get deflections and disrupt Boston in the lane.
The 7-foot-1 Maker, in particular, provided a huge boost to help Milwaukee counter what had been a decisive edge off the bench for the Celtics. Maker got extended minutes only because starting center John Henson missed the game with a sore back.
Nearly everything else went Milwaukee’s way, too.
Parker, who voiced displeasure this week after playing just 24 minutes over the first two games, was 7 of 12 from the field and played 30 minutes. Bledsoe, outplayed by Rozier in the first two games, shot 8 of 13.
”Obviously, it was all in the first half Andre Johnson Jersey ,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said about his team’s downfall. ”They were in such a rhythm offensively.”
Celtics: Rozier had five turnovers, but four came in a first quarter in which the Celtics fell behind 27-12. He had nine assists … Boston held a 45-37 edge in rebounding, including 17-7 on the offensive glass. But the Celtics allowed the Bucks to shoot at least 57 percent for a second straight game.
Bucks: Malcolm Brogdon replaced Tony Snell at guard alongside Bledsoe. Brogdon, who missed two months late in the season with a quad injury, scored five points but helped limit the Celtics’ backcourt of Rozier and Jaylen Brown (11 points). … Middleton added eight rebounds and seven assists.
Maker made his teammates proud, especially after having a conversation with Antetokounmpo a couple weeks ago.
”I told him we had to bring killer mentality back,” Antetokounmpo said. ”He was hungry.”
Maker was 3 of 4 from the 3-point line. He also played with passion, getting in opponents’ faces at times.
”We can’t get too sped up or get slowed down,” Maker said. ”We’ve just got to find our rhythm and play with pace.”
Colorful comments made by Rozier and Bledsoe earlier in the series fueled speculation that there might be a budding feud between the point guards.
Bledsoe outplayed his counterpart on Friday night.
”There’s nothing about me and Bledsoe. There’s nothing that he did differently today,” Rozier said. ”They punched us in the mouth early. We’ve got to do a better job of responding on Sunday, and we will.”
HE SAID IT
”For me, it’s about seeing the offense Devontae Booker Jersey , finding my spots to be aggressive … just playing in rhythm.” – Middleton after he shot 10 of 17 from the field.
Game 4 is Sunday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
More NBA basketball: More than three months after the NFL draft, Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst is still a little bitter about how things played out.
Projected to be a sure first-rounder after his final season at Michigan, Hurst wasn't selected until the fifth round amid questions about his health stemming from a heart condition that also got him sent home from the scouting combine.
Although Hurst said he first learned of the issue during his freshman year in college, he was stunned not hearing his name called until the third day of the draft.
He's still not fully over it.
"I don't know if it ever goes away," Hurst said Friday. "It's just something that's always on your shoulder and something that you always have to carry with you. Just keep it there to push you harder."
The Raiders are counting on Hurst and second-round pick P.J. Hall to improve an interior pass rush that was almost non-existent last season. Both rookies have gotten work in with the starting defense during practices and will get an extensive look when preseason games begin next week.
"They don't want us to be rookies," Hurst said. "They want us to come out and play right away and play effectively, and come out and just dominate and do what they expected us to do. Just be a vital part of this defense."
Hurst had 12 陆 sacks in college, five coming as a senior when he was an All-American.
With the Raiders, he'll be part of a rotation up front that includes Hall and veterans Justin Ellis and Mario Edwards. Eddie Vanderdoes, a second-round pick in 2017 who started 13 games as a rookie, is recovering from ACL surgery.
To help accelerate his growth, the Raiders have had Hurst play against starting center Rodney Hudson and guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson. Hudson and Osemele were Pro Bowl picks last season while Jackson was an alternate in 2016.
"They throw a few crumbs every now and then Corey Coleman Jersey ," Hurst said. "They don't want you to beat them every time. But they've been extremely helpful. Every day I get to go to work I get to play the best guys in the country. That's only going to make you better every day."
Hudson said Hurst's natural instincts have made for a smooth transition.
"He's got a lot of ability," Hudson said. "Smart rusher. He's always attentive and asks questions. He's got a lot of God-given ability. He's quick and he uses his hands well to be so young."
Hurst showed all of that during a pass-rush drill Friday. Paired against two offensive linemen, Hurst burst through the middle of the double-team effort and used his right hand to knock away one defender's block attempt.
If only finding a place to live was that easy for the Raiders rookie.
Hurst admitted getting sticker shock while checking out the housing market in Northern California and joked that he might have to go back to driving for Uber, something he did in college to earn extra money.
"It's ridiculous," Hurst said. "Look here, look home, look Michigan. I'm like, 'I can get a nice place over there.' But over here you get a little box. There was one on Craigslist I saw that someone was renting out a closet for $400."
Notes: Jackson was held out of practice for unknown reasons, one day after leaving the workout early. . Left tackle Donald Penn, who has not practiced in camp yet after having offseason foot surgery, appears close to returning. Penn has been working out with a team trainer and got work in on a blocking sled.
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