This crazy stat sums up Celtics' amazing defense vs. Bucks in Round 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals because their defense did a fantastic job against the Milwaukee Bucks' high-powered offense in the second round of the 2022 NBA playoffs.
The Bucks were the third-highest scoring team in the league during the regular season with 115.5 points per game. They also ranked fifth with a 36.6 3-point shooting percentage.
The Celtics held the Bucks to just 97.7 points scored per game in Round 2. In fact, the C's were the only team all season to keep the Bucks below 90 points in a game. They did it twice, including Sunday's 109-81 victory in Game 7 at TD Garden.
The Bucks had the 3rd best offense in the NBA this season.
They have been held under 90 points only twice all season â both in this series.
This Celtics defense is special. pic.twitter.com/49RCC9PgVg
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 15, 2022
Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo played fantastic, becoming the first player in playoff history to score 200 points with 100 rebounds and 50 assists in a single series.
But the two-time league MVP's stellar performance didn't sink the Celtics because they did a great job defending his teammates. A big chunk of that success was defending 3-point shots. The Bucks shot 21-for-77 from beyond the arc over the last two games. It proved to be the difference, especially in Game 7, when the Celtics hit 22 of their 55 attempts from 3-point range to outscore the Bucks by 54 points on those shots.
The Celtics have another tough challenge defensively against the Miami Heat in the conference finals.
Jimmy Butler is capable of scoring 30 points on any night. He loves high-pressure moments and has hit several clutch shots in his playoff career. Tyler Herro can erupt for 25-30 points any game, too, as the Celtics found out first hand during the 2020 conference finals series between these teams. Even though Duncan Robinson has been benched throughout this playoff run, he's still one of the league's top outside shooters. It doesn't take much for him to get hot from 3-point land. Defending Heat center Bam Adebayo has proved difficult for the Celtics in the past, too, especially in pick-and-roll situations.
Despite these challenges, the Celtics have the ideal size, length and versatility on defense to give the Heat problems. They can switch any pick-and-roll and won't have to send double teams on any Heat player. If the C's defend like they did against the Bucks, it's hard to envision Miami winning this series.