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Bucks defeat Celtics 103-101 after frantic last second – Boston News Weather Sports

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo found a way to put up better shots and regain his peak form just in time to help the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks regain the lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

But it was the Boston Celtics’ poor timing that made the difference in the end.

Antetokounmpo bounced back from a rare underperformance to score 42 points and make the basket by 44.3 seconds in a 103-101 win on Saturday. The Bucks lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 Monday night in Milwaukee.

“I know my strengths,” said Antetokounmpo. “Just try to read what’s in front of me and just play with my instincts. Sometimes I make the right game and sometimes I make the wrong game, but as long as I play within my strengths we’ll be in a good place.”

Victory was not assured until replays confirmed Al Horford’s potential tie putback – capping a wild sequence after Marcus Smart intentionally missed a free throw – came just after the buzzer.

“I saw Al flip it and I saw the red border on the back wall disappear,” Bucks center Brook Lopez said. “It was very close.”

Boston was 103-100 behind when officials determined Marcus Smart was fouled by Jrue Holiday just before attempting to tie a potential 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left. Because it was a no-shoot foul, Smart only got two free throw attempts.

Smart made the first free throw and then purposely missed the second – he threw a shot that ricocheted off the backboard hard before hitting the rim.

Then it got wild.

Smart got the rebound but missed his putback attempt. Boston’s Robert Williams charged for the basket and sent the ball up and off the glass. On the right Horford waited with a putback attempt, which also went into the glass. Horford then got his own rebound and used it, but his final shot came just after the buzzer sounded.

“I missed it perfectly,” Smart said. “No one was ready, (but) our boys were. Put it on the rim. We had a few chances. It just didn’t work out for us.”

The Celtics believed Smart should have had an opportunity to tie the game at the line. Celtics coach Ime Udoka and Smart said it should have been a shooting foul on the holiday.

“You can see it clearly,” said Udoka. “I’ve seen it in person, but also on film. I just went and looked at it. It’s a shot. He curls up in his shot. On the way up he gets fouled. Bad missed call.”

Holiday disagree.

“Honestly, it looked like he was still on the sidelines,” said Holiday, who scored 25 points. “It’s not a shooting move. He wasn’t facing the edge.”

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Horford had 22 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

Boston trailed 14 points late in the third quarter and faced a 13-point deficit with less than 10 minutes left before charging back. The Celtics took a 100-99 lead and took their first lead since the start of their third quarter on Brown’s two free throws with 1:49 left.

Both teams failed to score on their next possessions before Antetokounmpo put the Bucks back in front. Antetokounmpo then blocked Brown’s layup attempt, resulting in Holiday’s basket making it 103-100 with 11.2 seconds left.

Antetokounmpo’s successful last-minute plays underscored his comeback.

After scoring 38.5% (20 of 52) in the first two games of this series, Antetokounmpo finished 16th out of 30 on Saturday. He made 62.5% of his attempts (15 of 24) from the two-pointer -Range. In addition to his 42 points, he had 12 rebounds and eight assists.

It was a big improvement over his game in Game 2 when he reached 2 of 12 and scored just five points in the first half before finishing with 28 in the closing stages Bucks’ 109-86 loss.

“There will be struggles, but at the end of the day you will succeed if you stick with it and stick with it and stay the course,” Antetokounmpo said. “If you don’t stay the course, you won’t be successful. As simple as that.”

Antetokounmpo made sure the Bucks didn’t get thrown off course as they defended their title.

TATUMS HARD DAY

On a day when both Brown and Horford produced double-doubles, the Celtics lost in part to All-Star forward Jayson Tatum’s struggles. Tatum shot 4 of 19 overall and missed all six of his 3-point attempts before finishing with 10.

Tatum said his left wrist bothered him, but added it didn’t affect his game.

“I probably thought a little too much,” Tatum said. “It all comes down to me having to do better reads.”

TIP INS

Celtics: Robert Williams went into the dressing room in the third quarter after elbowing Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis in the face as they tangled under the basket while chasing the ball. Williams later returned in the third. … Reserve forward Sam Hauser, who had played two minutes each in the first two games of the series, was unavailable on Saturday with an injured right shoulder. Udoka said Hauser fell in training. “He will be fine in the long run,” said Udoka. “It’s just something he could be out for a couple of weeks based on that.” … The Celtics lost at the foul line despite a huge advantage. The Celtics were 28 of 33 and the Bucks 14 of 17 on free throw attempts.

Bucks: Reserve guard George Hill played for the first time this postseason after recovering from a strained ab. … Grayson Allen made his first playoff start of his career and Portis moved to a bench role. … The Bucks overcame a huge disparity in free throwing. The Celtics were 28 of 33 and the Bucks 14 of 17 on free throw attempts. … Lopez had 13 points and 10 rebounds. In the first two games of this series he had scored a total of eight points.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/bucks-edge-celtics-103-101-after-frantic-final-second%EF%BF%BC/ Bucks defeat Celtics 103-101 after frantic last second – Boston News Weather Sports

Nate Jones

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