BOSTON -- The Milwaukee Bucks were the first to score.
The Boston Celtics won Game 1 on Sunday. The Bucks displayed their usual physicality and defense, which caught Boston completely off guard.
The Celtics jumped ahead in the first quarter but couldn't keep up the pace as Milwaukee won 101-89.
Jaylen Brown, a Boston forward, said that he should give credit to Milwaukee. They did a great job and had a good strategy, but we missed many open shots. We have to be ready for the next one when they hit us in the mouth.
The team made just 10-of-31 (32.3%) from the paint, while the Celtics shot 18-of-50 (30.5%) on 3-pointers. This is the worst playoff paint field goal percentage since the 2017 Houston Rockets in Game 6, Western Conference semifinals (27.3%), and it's also the lowest by a Celtics team over the past 25 years.
Brown, who was still suffering from a lingering injury to his hamstring, was 4-of-13 on the field, while Jayson Tatum was 6-of-18. Their combined field goal percentage of 32.3% was the worst in a playoff match as a team.
Ime Udoka, the Celtics coach, said that the Bucks' physicality took Boston out its sets early but that it shouldn’t have surprised them.
Udoka stated that "we have to play with a bit more poise and not get rushed at any time."
Brown stated that the playoffs are not the right time to be shocked by what an opponent team does, particularly considering Milwaukee's past.
Milwaukee was able to play a solid defense and held Boston to 33.3% overall shooting. Boston was held to at most one shooter over 50% for the seventh consecutive season, postseason included. This was also the second such occasion since the beginning of the 2022 calendar year.
Boston scored just 10 2-point field goals, which is the second-lowest number of 2-point field goals ever made by a team in playoff games. Boston had never missed more than 14 2-point goals in either a regular-season or playoff game before Sunday.
Udoka stated that multiple penetrations and multiple paint touches are necessary. "They did a great job," Udoka said. Jaylen, Jayson had a bad night offensively. They missed more points than they usually make. These things, combined, increase the numbers.
Brown was still recovering from his hamstring injury. However, the Celtics were also affected by a short-term scare when Marcus Smart, Defensive Player Of The Year, had to be forced to leave the game.
Smart drove to the basket in the second half against Bucks' guard Pat Connaughton. Connaughton was called out for a foul. However, Bucks guard Jevon Carver made contact with Smart on the right shoulder.
Smart grabbed his shoulder immediately after the whistle had blown the play dead. He then let his arm drop as he called for a Celtics coach. The Celtics assured Smart that he would be able return to play, despite the injury being a stinger. However, they also mentioned a right quad contusion.
Smart shot to his quad in the third quarter on back-toback possessions. He was limping for parts of the third quarter, and had to use the exercise bike at end to keep warm for the fourth quarter.
Smart missed six games earlier this year because of a right quad contusion. He's now playing through the pain. On Jan. 23, he told reporters that Domantas Sabonis had kneed him on Jan. 10, and that his quad swelling up from the hit in the "perfect spot" caused it to happen.
Udoka stated that the quad was more bothersome than his shoulder. He'll be going through a lot, and that could impact him. ... He is being iced now so that he will be fine.