Undermanned Celtics can’t hang with motivated Bucks: The Celtics were without three of their top nine players on Friday night (Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes) and the Bucks played a tier above them for the better part of 48 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a game-high 30 points while Khris Middleton added 21 points as the visitors used a dominant 57-22 first-half run to cruise to a 120-107 victory. It was the third-straight loss for Boston, which drops the hosts to the fifth seed in the East and 5.5 games behind the Raptors.
Jaylen Brown had a team-high 21 points for Boston off the bench to help keep the game respectable after the Bucks built a 26-point lead but that was one of the few bright spots on the night for the Green. The team shot a season-low 38.5 percent at home and knocked down just 29 percent of their 3-point attempts as Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier all struggled mightily (9-of-35 combined shooting).
Defense showing cracks without the bigs: The Celtics may be