Thon Maker went from not playing at all in Game 1, and then seeing 1 minute of action in Game 2, to playing 55 minutes, blocking 10 shots, and scoring 22 points in Games 3 & 4 and quite simply, single handedly turning the tides in this series.
You look back at Game 1 and the Bucks should have won that game. Game 2 was an absolute ass whooping by Boston so there’s not much to argue there. But, looking back it now, as the Bucks have evened up this Series with Boston, who’s to blame for the absense of Thon Maker in Games 1 & 2 and whould he had been the difference?
Is it, without question in my mind, that Joe fricken Prunty is to blame for the absense of Thon Maker in Games 1 & 2. He has emurged as a crucial piece to this Bucks team, coming in and dominating. His ability to protect the rim and cover up players’ mistakes on defense has made an impact that cannot be overstated. Clearly, Joe Prunty made a big mistake in not playing Thon early in this series.
The real question: would Thon playing more change the outcomes of Game 1 and Game 2? It’s hard to say, as you just simply never know who will be hot or cold from game to game. But for Thon to have put up the numbers he has in back-to-back games makes it hard to believe he wouldn’t have affected the games early in this series and maybe even being the difference in winning or losing those games. Thon went from averaging just 4.8 points per game and 3 rebounds in the regular season, to being the workhorse for the Bucks in this series. Nobody expected Thon to produce the way he has – except for one person…NBA Legend, and ironically former Celtics forward Kevin Garnett.
Garnett worked Maker and the Bucks throughout the regular season, visiting from time to time for one-on-one lessons during practice. Needless to say, if Thon can steal some of KG’s moves and play with the same mentality he did, Thon has the potential to really be something special.
It’s clear, in my opinion, that Joe Prunty is really being outcoached in this series and it’s a miracle this series is tied. Prunty obviously doesn’t know this roster or rotation worth a damn, as Tyler Zeller has started over Thon in back to back games with the absense of John Henson, who in all reality, might as well stay hurt because Thon is (better not) not coming off the floor in the remainder of this series. By the way, nothing against Tyler Zeller. He’s a great talent and a great defensive and rebounding force. But he simply doesn’t match up well with this smaller, quicker, guard oriented Celtic rotation. Thon can match up better and stretch the floor. I expect Thon to continue playing well, as I think the Bucks can steal one tomorrow night.
Overall, do the Bucks win Games 1 & 2 with Thon? Game 1, maybe. Game 2, probably not. But he’s proven in back to back games that he would have for sure impacted both games in some way, shape, or form. If the Bucks keep playing the way they have the last 2 games, the series is all theirs.
As myself and newsest member of the Basement Boys A-Train would say, Bucks in Six & Dilly Dilly!