Giannis Antetokounmpo hit a playoff career-high 41 points in Game 4 to help the Milwaukee Bucks finish off the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons played one of their best games of the series, giving the Bucks everything they could handle in the first half. They held a six-point lead at halftime but watched it evaporate quickly as Milwaukee turned up the pressure. Milwaukee won the third quarter by 16 to put themselves back in front and held Detroit to just 42 points in the second half. Things were effectively over when Blake Griffin fouled out in the fourth.
Pour one out for Blake Griffin. At way less than 100 percent, he still battled it out for two games in this series. His team had no realistic hope of winning, even with him on the court, but putting in the effort for himself and his teammates was more important than prioritizing his body (a decision no one but the knuckleheads would have faulted him for). This caps a season in which Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, with a 58.1 true shooting percentage. This was by far the largest offensive burden Griffin has carried and he did it with near career-best efficiency. Here’s hoping things get a little easier next year.
Oh, my, Giannis. He poured in 41 points, getting himself to the free throw line 20 times, adding 9 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 4 blocks. He also did this. And this. And this. Oh, and also this. The MVP votes have already been cast but Giannis is working on his case for being the best player in these playoffs, building the kind of postseason highlights that can cement a legacy. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The Celtics are waiting. This second-round matchup between the Bucks and Celtics should be fantastic. The Bucks lost their first game against Boston this season by four points. They beat them by 13 the next time out and finished their regular season series with a one-point win. The Celtics may need to play Al Horford on Giannis, since he pretty much torched the rest of their wing defenders. That leaves a wing on Brook Lopez or forces Boston to play big. At the other end, both Eric Bledsoe and George Hill had some success defending Kyrie Irving. The matchups are fascinating the talent is tremendous. It’s going to be a great series.