Milwaukee Bucks putting on shooting clinic rarely seen in playoffs

Over the last 30 years, few teams have shot the ball better than the Milwaukee Bucks in their first four games against the Boston Celtics.

In fact, there’s only been three.

The Bucks own a 54.2 field-goal percentage (technically 54.17 percent) in their first-round series against Boston. Over the last three decades, the only teams to shoot better through the first four games of a playoff series are the 1990 Celtics (56.5 percent in a first-round series vs. the Knicks) and Lakers (54.5 percent, first round vs. Rockets) and 2014 Spurs (54.23 percent, Finals vs. Heat).

This means the last time a team was this hot from the field after four playoff games, Boston still had its “Big Three” of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, Los Angeles was running its “Showtime” offense behind Magic Johnson, Byron Scott and James Worthy and the NBA still had a best-of-5 decide its first-round matchups.

Heck, Jason Terry wasn’t even a teenager. Yeah, it’s been a while.

The main reasons for Milwaukee’s shooting prowess have been Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. The pair have accounted for 136 of the Bucks’ 312 field-goal attempts. Antetokounmpo has made 44 of 71 shots (62.0 percent) and Middleton 40 of 65 (61.5 percent).

Sterling Brown (60.0), Matthew Dellavedova (60.0), John Henson (69.2), Terry (1.000) and Tyler Zeller (75.0) are all shooting over 60 percent from the field, although the five have combined to take just 28 shots.

As well as the Bucks come out shooting in Game 5, a key might be how well they limit the Celtics. Boston made 53.1 percent of its field-goal attempts in first quarter during the first two games at home, but were held to 20.9 percent in the opening 12 minutes in Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee.

Other notes:

— The Game 5 winner in a series tied at 2 has won the entire series 164 of 198 times (.828 winning percentage). The road team winning Game 5 has resulted winning the series 31 of 48 times (.646) and the home team 133 of 150 (.887).

— Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists on the road over the last two playoffs, compared to 22.6, 7.6 and 4.4 at home.

— Antetokounmpo’s 27.8 point-per-game average against the Celtics this postseason is the highest by any Bucks player in a playoff series since Terry Cummings averaged 29.5 points per game against the Bulls in 1984-85.

— With Middleton averaging 25.5 points per game in this series, the Bucks have two players averaging 25.0+ points per game in the same series for the first time since Cummings (29.5) and Sidney Moncrief (26.5) did so against the Bulls in 1984-85.

— Middleton’s 15 3-pointers are tied for fourth by a Bucks player in a postseason series with Carlos Delfino (2010, seven games vs. Atlanta). Tony Snell had 16 last season against Toronto (six games) while Ray Allen tops the list with 21 in the seven-game 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Charlotte and 28 in the seven-game Eastern Conference finals that same year against Philadelphia.

Statistics courtesy STATS

 

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