Terry Rozier, Celtics Survive Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks in OT to Win Game 1

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2018

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15:  Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game One of Round One during the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 15, 2018 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

If Game 1 between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks is any indication, the first-round series between the teams is going to be intense.

Boston survived the opening salvo, 113-107, winning in overtime after it appeared the Celtics had stolen the game in regulation. Terry Rozier, the team's starting point guard with Kyrie Irving done for the season, put Eric Bledsoe in a blender and sunk what looked like the game-winning three with just 0.5 seconds on the clock.

But Khris Middleton wasn't ready to hit the showers, instead nailing a 35-foot three-pointer with no time on the clock to send the game to overtime. Replay reviews appeared to show the ball just leaving Middleton's fingers as time expired.

Rozier had the last laugh, however, as his eight points, two rebounds and an assist in overtime helped Boston escape with the victory. He finished with 23 points and three assists overall.

That spoiled Herculean efforts from Giannis Antetokounmpo (35 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists) and Middleton (31 points, eight rebounds, six assists), who were basically Milwaukee's only offense until Malcolm Brogdon (16 points off the bench) started hitting shots in the second half. 

No other Buck finished with double-digit points and, as Zach Lowe of ESPN noted, Milwaukee's lack of cohesion on offense remains an issue: 

Middleton's heroics at the end of regulation, meanwhile, were a first this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

As for the Celtics, the team's stingy defense and ability to control the game's pace were integral once again. The Celtics held Milwaukee to 99 points in regulation, seven below its season average. The team's offensive balance was key as well, however.

Al Horford led the charge with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, while Marcus Morris contributed a huge 21 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes off the bench. Jaylen Brown (20 points) and Jayson Tatum (19 points) also had solid showings for Boston.

But the game may have been decided by the starting point guards. Eric Bledsoe had a rough afternoon, scoring just nine points while turning the ball over five times. While he's likely ready to put Game 1 in the rearview mirror, Rozier was the talk of the postgame after his clutch performance: 

For Milwaukee, recovering from a Game 1 that appeared very winnable may be tough, as Sam Vecenie of The Athletic implied: 

Facing a Celtics team without Irving, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart is a golden opportunity for the Bucks to advance to the second round of the playoffs. They'll get their next chance Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET, though if the Greek Freak and Middleton don't get some help, it could be a short series against the resilient Celtics.

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