For most of the night, it looked like the Celtics were ready to put the defending NBA Champions to bed. They had multiple double-digit leads, and held Giannis Antetokounmpo relatively in check for most of the game, but couldn’t do so for the full 48 minutes. With a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback, the Bucks beat the Celtics 110-107 in Game 5, and now Boston faces elimination as the series shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6.
To start the first quarter, the teams went punch-for-punch. The Celtics quickly erased an early seven-point Milwaukee lead, and kept it a one-score game for much of the high-scoring quarter. Still, they trailed 28-26 through 12 minutes.
Early in the second quarter, the Celtics went on a 7-0 run within an 11-2 run, with Jayson Tatum scoring seven points during that stretch. A Bucks timeout didn’t do much to cool the C’s off. The defensive intensity rose to match the offense, and a separate 11-0 run followed.
Right when it looked like the Celtics could run away with it, the Bucks answered. Giannis Antetokounmpo really made his presence felt for the first time on the night. He went on a 7-3 run of his own to close the frame, and got his team back within seven. The teams went into the break with Boston up 54-47.
Much like they’ve done for most of the playoffs, the Celtics made their move late in the third quarter. After Milwaukee cut the scoring margin to single digits midway through the third, Boston went on a 15-9 run powered by 12 points from Jaylen Brown. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Celtics led 86-77.
The quarter break didn’t slow the Celtics down. They opened the fourth on a 7-0 run, stretching their lead to a then-game-high 14 points before the Bucks called a timeout. Milwaukee used that break to regroup, and responded with a 16-6 run to get back within four points with six minutes to play.
Milwaukee got within two points, at 101-99 with four minutes left to play. The Celtics managed to hold off charge after charge until the 48 second mark, when Jrue Holiday hit a three pointer to tie the game at 105-105.
After Jayson Tatum hit two free throws to put the Celtics back on top, Antetokounmpo was fouled at the other end. After making the first shot, he missed the second but Bobby Portis grabbed a ricochet rebound and finished the putback. That put Milwaukee up 108-107 with 11.4 seconds to play. That ended up being the game-winner, as Marcus Smart had a layup blocked on the other end. In total, the C’s were outscored 31-14 over the final 10 minutes.
Antetokounmpo was a big part of that late surge, and finished with 40 points and 11 rebounds. Holiday was also clutch down the stretch, and finished with 24.
For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum led the way with 34 points but shot just 2-of-11 from deep. Jaylen Brown added 26 points, and Marcus Smart had 15. However, the Celtics really missed starting center Robert Williams, who missed his second consecutive game with a knee injury. Milwaukee had 17 offensive rebounds to Boston’s five, and the put back on the late free throw ended up being the difference.
The series now turns back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Friday. The start time for that game is still to be announced, but coverage will begin half an hour before on the 98.5 The Sports Hub Celtics Radio Network.
PHOTOS: Celtics take on Bucks in Game 5 of 2022 playoff series
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