The Eastern Conference has a new boss. In the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks for several weeks, the classification is now dominated by the Boston Celtics, after the matches of the night from Monday to Tuesday. The C’s did the job at home, taking the best of Oklahoma City, very eye-catching (126-122). Meanwhile, the 2021 champions fell for the first time at home, to the Atlanta Hawks (121-106), their third defeat this season. Like Boston, who won one more game (11 against 10).
It was from Massachusetts that the surprise almost came. Already winner of an ultra-offensive match the day before in New YorkOKC has long led Boston, carried again by its point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 37 points (at 13/26 in shooting) and 8 assists and a major five in tune: all at 14 points or more, including 16 points and 14 rebounds for Aleksey Pokusevski.
The substitutes (10 points for Pritchard, 16 for White) first kept the Celtics in the game, relegated to -15 in the third quarter (88-73). And it took all the talent of Marcus Smart, author of 20 of his 22 points in the second half, to reverse the meeting, the leader being added to the usual duo of the late Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum: 26 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds for the first, 27 points and 10 rebounds for the second.
“It was the victory of resilience, a difficult match to win”, blew Brown after the success, the seventh rank of the finalists of last season, still deprived of Malcolm Brogdon (hamstrings). What to pass in front of Milwaukee, beaten for the second time in a row in three days (3 of the last 4 matches) while the Bucks had started the season with nine victories.
This time, despite Giannis Antetokounmpo on 27 points (but 8/21 shooting and 8 stray bullets) after missing the last two games and 20 points for rookie Marjon Beauchamp, the 2021 champions were never able to dismiss the Atlanta Hawks, denser in defense and who knew how to play at their own pace. Led by Trae Young (21 points, 9 assists), the Atlanta collective stood out (24 points for Hunter, 19 points and 10 rebounds for Capela, 19 points for Murray). A prestigious success before a new test in two days against Boston, the new leader.