With the opening round series on the line, the Milwaukee Bucks returned home in Game 6 to pull off a, 97-86, win over the Boston Celtics to force a Game 7 on Saturday night in Boston.
The Celtics rolled into Milwaukee looking to eliminate the Bucks, after holding a 3-2 series lead, but things didn’t work out too well for the C’s. And now both teams have won all three games on their home courts in this series, with the series returning to the Bay State.
Prior to tip the Bucks announced that Thon Maker would be starting over Tyler Zeller and John Henson (back soreness) would remain out.
But Boston didn’t look to take advantage of the size differences between lineups, as they’d go onto play “small” most the game, with Marcus Morris being the only exception coming off the bench for 26 minutes and 14 points.
The Celtics jumped out to an early 5-4 lead just three minutes into game after Terry Rozier III knocked down this ridiculous bank shot.
Rozier hits the 3-pointer off the window after some sweet ball movement! pic.twitter.com/SOkaUHOMun— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 27, 2018
Boston was in control most of the opening quarter until the Bucks closed it out with a 7-0 run to pull within two of the C’s at 24-22.
The Celtics opened up the second with a 7-2 run of their own to take a, 31-24, lead three minutes into the quarter.
But the Bucks would regain the lead with 6:08 left in the second and never looked back with another crazy run to close out the first half.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks out-scored the Celts, 26-15, to take a 48-39 lead into halftime.
In the first half the C’s were out-rebounded 23-7, and the Bucks stole a cool 10 points off of six Celtics turnovers.
Halfway through the third, during the C’s push to pull within striking range of the Bucks, Jaylen Tatum and Al Horford, who prevented a Tatum turnover, showed some tremendous ball movement when Jaylen Brown was hit for a wide open three from the top of the key.
Pretty ball movement leads to a Jaylen trey! pic.twitter.com/m0p5BmuffO— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 27, 2018
The Celtics finally tied things up at 61-61 with 4:21 left in the third. But the Bucks came right back with a, 13-4, run to take a, 74-65, lead into the final quarter.
Boston trailed 80-78 with the ball and more than six minutes left in the fourth when everything started to go downhill for the C’s. Especially with the Bucks working to keep the Celts from jacking up open threes.
From that point on, Tatum had all three Celtics field goals in the closing stretch of the game. As the Buck would go onto win, 97-86, forcing a Game 7 on Saturday night in Boston.
The Bucks out-rebounded the Celts (48-39) for the first time in the series. And they shot better than 48 percent for the fifth time in the series. All while the Celtics struggled from field with a series-low 37 percent shooting.
Tatum led all Celtics scorers with 22 points (6-14 FG), three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Rozier came back to life with 18 points, seven boards and five assists. And Brown wasn’t far behind with 14 points and five rebounds.
Horford finished the night with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double on 50 percent shooting from the field.
Marcus Smart finished his second game back in the C’s lineup with six points (2-9 FG) , two rebounds and an assist in 26 minutes.
Antetokounmpo had his way with the C’s, while finishing with a team-high 31 points and 14 rebounds.
And Bucks’ guard Khris Middleton shot the lights out in Milwaukee, going 7-for-8 from the field, good for 16 points.
UP NEXT: The Boston Celtics (55-27/3-3) will welcome the Milwaukee Bucks (44-38/3-3) to the TD Garden on Saturday night for Game 7 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Click here for all Celtics content, including news, podcasts, feature stories, and more.