NBA Playoffs: Milwaukee Bucks Survive Crime Against Boston Celtics

The Milwaukee Bucks won Game 3 against the Boston Celtics, taking the lead of the series. Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the guarantor of the 103:101 success, but co-star Jrue Holiday hit the decisive throw in a dramatic final phase.

With less than two minutes left, Jaylen Brown was 14 points behind and the visitors took the lead again for the first time since just after halftime, before Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo with two drives gave the Bucks a 3-point lead. Marcus Smart went to the line with 5 seconds left, intentionally missed the second try and grabbed the rebound, but Al Horford’s tip-in for possible extra time came just after the siren, allowing the hosts to survive.

Antetokounmpo delivered a monster game with 42 points (16/30 FG, 9/12 FT), 12 rebounds and 8 assists, Holiday (25, 11/30, 3 steals) was also outstanding despite weak odds. Pat Connaughton (11, 3/8 threes) hit two crucial long-range shots in the fourth quarter as the Bucks ran out of ideas and nearly relinquished the game.

Boston won the final section 34:23 and made it exciting again thanks to Jaylen Brown (27, 8/16, 12 rebounds) and Horford (22, 9/16, 16 rebounds, 5 assists). Jayson Tatum (10, 4/19, 3 assists), on the other hand, had a night to forget and was also unlucky in crunch time when he wanted to pull an offensive foul on Holiday’s decisive throw instead of making it as difficult as possible for the guard with his length close. Daniel Theis played 2:17 minutes in the third quarter, but had no influence whatsoever.

The Bucks started with a smaller lineup (Grayson Allen for Bobby Portis), but that didn’t change much defensively as Lopez started out strong at ringside. Boston got some open triples, but otherwise nothing was easy. The same was true for Milwaukee, but they also took some faster deals. Antetetokounmpo had collected 8 points, while Tatum hardly got anything. He struggled against the hosts’ drop coverage (22:19).

Antetokounmpo leads Bucks to winning ways

The three didn’t fall on either side, but Tatum made a small exclamation mark with a transition dunk over Giannis. However, the Greek dominated the first half with his drives, dunks and also a furious block against Tatum (it was probably goaltending). Otherwise, only Holiday and Lopez scored, Boston distributed it a little better, but also remained without a field goal for more than six minutes. Yet the visitors led 50-46 at the break as Boston pinned the third foul on Giannis and scored the last seven points of the quarter with the Finals MVP on the bench.

Milwaukee reacted, the first few minutes belonged to Antetokounmpo, who pranced through the zone and thus initiated a 20-6 run by the Bucks. The hosts were particularly successful in semi-transitions, mostly thanks to Giannis, who attacked immediately after defensive rebounds. Tatum continued to throw bricks diligently, the Celtics afforded 7 TO in the section. The break for Antetokounmpo could not be used either, instead the hosts extended their lead and took a cushion into the final quarter (80:67).

But Boston wasn’t beaten yet. Brown, who had been pale until then, quickly scored 7 points, Derrick White (14) hit a three-pointer. Within 4:30 minutes, the Celtics had scored more points than in the entire third quarter (18:17). The Bucks wobbled because Antetokounmpo was too infrequently found. Horford was the best man for the Celtics at this stage, both front and back. Brown put the Celtics back in front from the line with just under two minutes left before the Bucks survived in a wild crunch time thanks to Giannis and Holiday.

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