With 15 seconds left, Bobby Portis pull-backs from a missed free throw by Giannis Antetocounpo, Jaru Holiday sniffed Marcus Smart in Boston’s last two innings and Milwaukee Box beat Celtics 110-107 at AEST on Thursday to take a 3-2 lead. The best of the series.
Antetokounmpo had 40 points and 11 rebounds, blood gushing from a wound over his right eye in the final minutes of the game, while Holiday finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Portis added 14 points and 15 rebounds to the defending NBA. Champion for
Milwaukee has a chance to finish the Eastern Conference semifinal series at home on Saturday at AEST. The Celtics need a win to return to a decisive seventh game in Boston.
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The Celtics led 14 in the fourth quarter before the box slowly closed the gap.
Boston led by six points with less than two minutes left when AntitoCoumpo, who has struggled with his outside shots throughout the series, drilled a three-pointer from the top of the arc to bring the box into the three.
Milwaukee then tied the score at 105 on Holiday’s three-pointer with 43 seconds left. Jason Tatum, who scored a total of 34 points, hit a pair of free throws to give Boston the lead.
Antetokounmpo took the opportunity to tie the line and make the first one, then Portis grabbed the second’s rebound and left it off the backboard to give Milwaukee the first lead from the start of the second quarter.
Smart drove towards the basket but Holiday blocked him and came off with the ball, fell out of bounds and threw Smart. Pat Canton made a pair of free throws with six seconds left, then stole the ball from Smart in his desperate dash for a potential game-tying three-pointer on holiday.
Boston has won two of three games in Boston to swipe home-court facilities.
Antetokounmpo had his best shooting game of the series, going from field to 16 for 27, but he also made seven turnovers. It was a performance that was made iconic by the image of him walking on the court with blood flowing through his mouth.
Jillian Brown scored 26 points for Boston, including 16 in the third – and 12 in the last four minutes of the quarter, when Boston led 71-68 to a 12-point lead.
Box scored nine of the first 11 points of the game, but Boston closed the gap in the middle of the quarter. The Celtics ran 11 straight points early in the second half, bound by a Marcus Smart steal, tossing Brown for an alley in Tatum that brought the crowd to his feet.
But Box scored 17 of the next 24 points to make it 58-55 and had nine minutes left to be third.
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