By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
It didn’t take long for the Celtics’ season to feel off. The lows were as baffling as the highs were thrilling. But their second-round series against the Bucks reached disappointing new lows.
The Celtics are headed home for the offseason after the Bucks completed a four-game winning streak to oust Boston in five games, taking the decisive win by a 116-91 score on Wednesday night. And for the fourth straight game, Kyrie Irving struggled with his efficiency shooting the ball. Game 5 represented rock-bottom.
Irving shot just 6-for-21 from the field (28.6 percent) for an unacceptable 15 points. Add to that just one assist and three turnovers, plus 1-for-7 from three-point range. Overall, he shot 25-for-83 in the four losses.
Irving once again came well short of the promise of regaining the form he showed as a member of the Cavaliers in prior playoff runs. He won’t get the opportunity to play hero in the NBA Finals this year, due in large part to his own performance.
The rest of the Celtics aren’t off the hook, though. Boston shot an abysmal 31.2 percent as a team. None of the starters shot better than Jaylen Brown’s 33.3 percent. Gordon Hayward was once again a non-factor on offense, scoring just seven points on 3-for-9 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to have his way, scoring 20 points on 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) shooting to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Eric Bledsoe shot efficiently, netting 18 points on 7-for-14 from the field. The Milwaukee bench once again shot well, outscoring the Boston reserves 49-41. Their impact was greater than the margin suggests. Much of the Celtics’ bench production came in garbage time, while the Bucks got 16 points out of George Hill and 10 each from Ersan Ilyasova and the returning Malcolm Brogdon.
With uncertainty surrounding the future of Irving, the Celtics are left to pick up the pieces of an essentially wasted season. Sky-high expectations soured early as the C’s suffered through confounding dips that belied their level of talent. Wednesday’s loss represents the lowest point possible. Their season is over, and it could not have ended in uglier fashion.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.