Boston Celtics

Apr 17, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka watches from the sideline as they take on the Brooklyn Nets in the second half during game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
  • Wednesday night’s Game 6 loss by the Boston Celtics will likely be dissected for the days, weeks, and months to come. That’s especially if they end up dropping this conference semifinal to the Bucks, in which they now trail 3-2.

    The Celtics led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter, with the Bucks seemingly on the ropes not just for the game but for the series. However, the pace of play slowed and Milwaukee jumped at the chance, outscoring Boston 31-14 over the final 10 minutes. Even late in the game, there were chances for the Celtics to settle the run, but they missed a number of opportunities – namely a rebound on a missed Giannis Antetokounmpo free throw attempt in the final minute.

  • After the game, Celtics coach Ime Udoka recognized the chance that slipped through his team’s fingers – literally.

    “Offensive rebounds, really. That’s the story of the game,” Udoka replies when asked about the final minutes. “When they have 17 for 20 second chance points, and a lot of those came in the second half – they only had six in the first half. So we were doing a good job as far as that. And to give up 14, especially on those specific plays where they got kickout threes – some were long rebounds so they’re a little bit tougher but we’ve got to find bodies on those. And then the free throw one stands out.”

    Udoka was also asked about the Celtics’ final offensive set of the game. Following the put-back by Portis, the Celtics called timeout with a chance to inbound the ball on the offensive end of the floor. The pass came to Marcus Smart, who drove the baseline but had his layup attempt blocked.

  • “Weak side action for Al [Horford] and JB [Jaylen Brown], and then bring a specific matchup into it, to get the specific matchup we wanted downhill for JT [Jayson Tatum],” Udoka said, explaining the call. “Got a little stagnant on the weak side, they didn’t pass, and the clock was running down with no timeouts so Marcus had to go get it and try to make a play.”

    As tough as it was down the stretch, the Celtics don’t have time to dwell on this one. They now face elimination in Game 6 in Milwaukee on Friday.

    “We had a golden opportunity and that was the story here. It’s gonna get tougher now, we’ve got to win two in a row,” Udoka said. “We played extremely well for three and a half quarters. Got a little stagnant, missed some shots in the fourth but also I didn’t love our defense those last quarters.”

    “Guys are going to be pissed about the outcome,” he continued. “You still have an opportunity. It’s not a series-ending loss. So, we have a chance to go and make up for it.”

    The league has yet to announce a start time for Game 6. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to tip off on the 98.5 The Sports Hub Celtics Radio Network.