Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 42 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and delivered eight assists to ignite defending champion Milwaukee against Boston 103-101 in the NBA playoffs.
The Greek superstar center also had two blocked shots and two interceptions for the Bucks, who took a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference’s best-of-seven second-round series, which continues in Milwaukee. Monday.
Golden State will host Memphis later in a Western Conference game, with that series level at 1-1.
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The Celtics rallied from 14 points at 103-100 with 4.6 seconds left and Boston’s Marcus Smart sank the first of two free throws to lift the visitors into the final margin.
Smart missed the second free throw in hopes of grabbing a rebound and hitting an even inside shot, but Robert Williams missed a point try and Al Horford’s point was judged after the final buzzer, giving the win in Milwaukee.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Jrue Holiday’s foul on Smart, judged before a shot attempt, should have been considered coming in for a shot and brought three free throws, which would have given Smart a chance to tie the game at the line. .
“He was going into the shot,” Udoka said. “Poor non-call. It’s a hit. He curls up in a shot. Bad missed call. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said the Bucks were “lucky there were two free throws but we weren’t trying to foul him” on the Smart play.
Udoka also said that it shouldn’t have come down to that.
“We were sloppy on the third run and allowed them to take that lead and then fight on the fourth,” he said. “But we can play much better.” Holiday had 25 points for the Bucks while Brook Lopez added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Pat Connaughton had 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Jaylen Brown led Boston with 27 points and 12 rebounds while Horford had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Celtics, but Jayson Tatum went 4 of 19 from the floor and scored just 10 points.
Boston led 50-46 at halftime, but the Bucks opened the third quarter with a 20-6 run to take a 66-56 lead, with Antetokounmpo producing nine points and four assists.
Milwaukee led up to 80-66 in the final seconds of the third quarter. – Final drama –
But Horford scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-point shot and a hook on consecutive possessions to put Boston back 97-95 with 4:10 left.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Smart, who missed Game 2 with a thigh injury, hit a free throw that lifted the Celtics 97-96, but Antetokounmpo jumped in response.
Brown sank two free throws to put Boston back 99-98 with 2:33 left, then returned to the line and hit two more to give the Celtics a 100-99 advantage with 1:49 left.
Antetokounmpo responded with an inside jumper to put the Bucks ahead 101-100, then blocked a shot from Brown.
Holiday grabbed the loose ball for Milwaukee and hit a one-handed shot to put the Bucks ahead 103-100 with 11.2 seconds remaining, then fouled Smart to set up the final drama.