Not even a dominant performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo could save Milwaukee as Boston’s belated fury kept their streak in the balance.
Al Horford scored 30 points as the Boston Celtics produced a devastating late burst to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 116-108 and draw their best-of-seven series at 2-2 on Tuesday (AEST).
Reigning champion Bucks appeared to be heading for the 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series after coming 11 points clear at the end of the third quarter, with Giannis Antetokounmpo in impressive form.
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But a devastating display of shooting by the Celtics fourth quarterback – with Horford scoring 16 points as Boston overcame Milwaukee 43-28 – transformed the contest as the Celtics head home to Boston for game five on Thursday.
Horford’s total was his career high in playoff games and gave the Celtics a crucial lead with two of the series remaining three games taking place in Boston.
Horford received scoring support from Jayson Tatum, who added 30 points, while Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart both finished with 18 points each.
Derrick White added 11 points off the bench when five Celtics players finished in double figures to silence the crowd at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum.
“Our backs were against the wall. We had to respond and that’s what we did, ”Horford later said.
“We didn’t give up, we just kept pushing.
“The playoffs are difficult. You have to grind and get to this. We were cornered tonight and we just had to find a way. ”
Antetokounmpo led the scoring for Milwaukee with 34 points in a losing effort, with 18 rebounds and five assists while Brook Lopez finished with 17 points.
Originally published as Al Horford goes mad as Celtics’ late goal blitz ruins Giannis, Bucks