Connaughton finished with 14 points, 11 of which came in the first half, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a block.
The 26-year-old guard, who was also selected in the 2014 MLB Draft, said he is proud to use his athleticism to impact the game in a different way than the shot. Midway through the second quarter, for example, he filled Celtics striker Semi Ojeleye in a 3-point attempt, and even briefly celebrated the rejection with a friend who was sitting on the court.
"He's been doing it all year," said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. "He has been a great contributor in many different ways."
Even before being selected in the 41st position by the Nets in the 2015 NBA Draft, Connaughton had already competed in the Garden Park three times as a high school student at St. John High School in Danvers. When asked if he was looking for the Celtics, he played timidly and simply shrugged.
"With luck, in some more victories, I'll be able to look back and say it was very good," he said. "But, at the end of the day, it's about a business mentality of making sure that it really does not matter who gets in between the two lines."
In his first season with the Bucks, Connaughton has an average of 20.7 minutes per game in his career, while starting only two games throughout the season. But getting off the bench is not light in his eyes. He said he and his reserve colleague George Hill are happy to embody a "mafia bank" mentality every night.
"We try to make sure we bring the energy," said Connaughton. "We want to make sure we bring the energy every night."
In the third game on Friday, only Connaughton and Hill beat the Boston bench, 35-16.
"Our starters have been good all year," said Hill, who was traded to the Bucks in December. "When I got here, one of the things we had to do was give them breaks. We have to go in and change the game. "
That, they did. After Connaughton kept the team afloat in the first half, Hill took the reins in the second half. Fifteen of his 21 points came in the third and fourth quarters, while helping the Bucks achieve a double-digit lead. During a stretch at the end of the third, Hill scored 8 consecutive points that extended Milwaukee's lead to 11.
"The more aggressive it is, the better it is," Budenholzer said. "As coaches, we just keep pushing him and let him know he has to be aggressive, he's better, his teammates are better when he plays that way, that's always been the case, he's a veteran, he's been in these situations Before, he understands, and it shows. "
"The guy is a veteran," Connaughton repeated. "He's a professional, any of those adjectives you want to use to describe a phenomenal NBA player, that's what he does, he brings that experience and experience with him, he's vocal, he talks to the guys, he makes sure that everyone is ready, all together. "