A mix of leftover thoughts and observations after taking a second look at the Bucks’ hard-fought 98-97 win over the Celtics on Thursday night in Milwaukee
1. Terry Rozier’s ongoing struggles in Milwaukee remain an issue
Boston’s inability to shoot on the road nearly got them eliminated in the first round of the postseason last year and those struggles continued on Thursday night with a key reserve in Terry Rozier. He had a subpar night on the offensive end (2-of-8 FG, 0-of-4 from 3-point range), missing a number of wide-open looks from beyond the arc in the midst of the C’s worst shooting night of the year (38 percent from the field). He was far from the only culprit in the loss, but the problematic trend with the fourth-year guard is his inability to knock down open perimeter shots in road games against the Bucks.
Dating back to last year’s regular season and postseason, Rozier is now shooting 20 percent from 3-point range (7-of-31) over his past five games in Milwaukee. That’s a very troublesome pattern for this group seeing that Rozier is one of the guys the Bucks will concede open looks to in order to shut down Kyrie Irving and Boston’s other top scoring weapons. Brad Stevens has to find someone who can knock down a respectable clip of wide-open looks in tough environments on the road for this team to succeed in the postseason, particularly against a Bucks team that is so tough to score on at the rim. Rozier will keep getting opportunities, but at some point, Stevens needs to try something else or hand a bigger chunk of Rozier’s minutes to Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward (when healthy) or Marcus Smart. Whoever has the hot hand on a given night should play more.
2. Marcus Smart’s insertion into the starting five really pays dividends in the Bucks matchup