Milwaukee Bucks among NBA teams eyeing 2-0 series leads in series vs. Detroit Pistons
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON — The Celtics are preparing for their Game 2 matchup with the Pacers aware their series-opening win was notable more for its ugliness more than the outcome.
Meanwhile, the Rockets and Bucks are heading into their respective Game 2s with the Jazz and Pistons, respectively, expecting more competitive games after dominating victories.
Boston limited Indiana to eight points in the third quarter of its 84-74 Game 1 win. It was the Celtics’ lowest point total of the season and the first time they won a game in 2018-19 in which they didn’t reach 100 points.
Change is on the minds of both teams.
For the Celtics that could mean tweaks to the starting lineup as they continue to adjust to the absence of Marcus Smart, who is recovering from a torn left oblique.
“It’s frustrating, but you have to take it day-by-day and one day at a time,” Smart said Tuesday.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens acknowledged Smart’s absence forced them to play differently and will continue to require adjustments.
Without Smart to help with ball handling duties, it mostly falls on Kyrie Irving.
Scoring wasn’t a problem for James Harden in Houston’s 122-90 win. The star had a game-high 29. Utah star Donovan Mitchell had 19, but was just 7 of 18 from the field.
“Their defense was really designed to keep me out of the paint and we’ve got to find ways around that,” Mitchell said. “As a team we’re not going to miss the amount of shots we missed last time.”
A look at tonight’s Pistons-Bucks game:
Milwaukee leads 1-0; Game 2, 8 p.m. EDT, Fox Sports Detroit and NBA TV
NEED TO KNOW: Detroit’s 35-point loss in Game 1 was more lopsided then the Pistons’ entire four-game series the last time they were in the playoffs. In 2016, they lost four straight games to Cleveland by a combined 34 points.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Milwaukee had a 22-11 advantage in fast-break points in Game 1 and outrebounded the Pistons 54-46. If Detroit is going to keep this game closer, turning those two categories around may be the best path.
INJURY WATCH: Detroit star Blake Griffin has been having knee problems and missed Game 1. The Pistons have described him as day to day, and coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday there was no change in his outlook.
PRESSURE IS ON: Andre Drummond is Detroit’s other star frontcourt player, and with Griffin out, he wasn’t able to hold off the Bucks’ onslaught in the series opener. He had 12 points before being ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant foul on Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo.