Turnovers key in Celtics-Bucks win – but only tell part of the tale

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Justin Quinn
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In many ways, the Boston Celtics 122 – 121 win in their season opener over the Milwaukee Bucks was in some ways a tale of turnovers — and not of the sort one eats for the holidays.

The Celtics were a sloppy shell of themselves in their final preseason tilt against the Brooklyn Nets, committing an ugly 20 turnovers in the 113 – 89 blowout. Fast forward to the Dec. 23 contest with Milwaukee, and the tables were turned — the Bucks committed 16 turnovers as a team, with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo contributing 7 of the ignominious stat himself. The Celtics, as a team, committed one fewer that night than the Greek Freak did on his own.

Asked about the startling discrepancy after the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens played down the cleaned-up game sported by Boston against the Bucks.

“I think it’s really easy to say limit turnovers; I’d say we talked about it in terms of being tough on every catch, fighting for every space, for an inch on every space. Making sure you deliver the ball, taking pride in delivering the ball, realizing how you’re being defended and take advantage of it accordingly. All those things are what we would say instead of limiting turnovers; I guess you’re playing with that purpose, and then that takes care of itself. But … we saw [Friday] Brooklyn forced a ton of them, got run out and got going.”

“We already were terrible transition defensive wise. So, if we turned it over tonight it would have been a real show,” he added.

It is indeed probably overly reductive to credit the victory over mighty Milwaukee to merely maintaining possession more efficiently.

But as Stevens expanded on what those discrete losses of possession actually point to is an instructive exercise in all of the little things not only invisible to a stat line, but often the untrained eye as well.

We all know good offense when we see it, but the culmination of hundreds of examples of good decisions, high energy and patience to name just a few contributing factors can indeed be described as limiting turnovers.

It’s just their job to fill in the gaps on the court in ways that actually do that.

Related

WATCH: Boston Celtics 122 - Milwaukee Bucks 121 video recap (12/23)

Jayson Tatum stats: Tatum scores 30, banks in game-winning three vs. Bucks

WATCH: Celtic star forward Jayson Tatum's game-winning 3 vs Bucks

Boston's Marcus Smart gets his own Chipotle black card - and a robe

List

What are experts saying about the Celtics 2020-21 season outlook?

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Atlanta
+300+8.5O 232.5
Milwaukee
-400-8.5U 232.5