By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Facing elimination on Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics probably wanted to hit the floor and play their best first half of the entire season.
They did not succeed.
The C’s headed to the locker room trailing the Bucks 52-39. How they got there was less than ideal.
As a team, they shot 4-for-23 from 3-point range. From the field, they just just 24 percent (13-for-51). Kyrie Irving chucked up an airball. Gordon Hayward had an airball, too, and he missed a layup. Al Horford was blocked twice. Jayson Tatum had more traveling violations (2) than field-goal attempts (1).
Things weren’t going great.
It all culminated in what appeared to be the releasing of some boiled-up frustrations from Horford and head coach Brad Stevens, two men who are generally the most even-keeled presences on the team.
It appeared as though the Celtics’ bench was upset the Giannis Antetokounmpo may have traveled on his drive through the lane, before he stopped and kicked out to Eric Bledsoe, who drained a 3-pointer to give Milwaukee a 12-point lead with 50 seconds left in the half.
Stevens was angered about something after that shot went down, with color commentator Chris Webber noting that he had never seen Stevens so fired up. Marcus Smart reacted immediately to Antetokounmpo’s hop step by signaling for a travel and then raising his arms above his head in disbelief when no whistle blew.
It was on that next possession when Hayward airballed a long 2-point attempt, and the Bucks went down the court and drained another triple of their own, making it a 15-point lead for the home team.
The Celtics called a timeout, and Stevens remained angry. But it was Horford who had apparently seen enough, as the Celtics’ big man popped off the bench to get in the face of referee David Guthrie.
Guthrie promptly issued a technical foul to Horford, leaving a trail of frustrated Celtics in his wake.
It wasn’t the greatest showing of composure by the Celtics, but for anyone who might have missed the first half, that brief clip serves as a fairly comprehensive synopsis.