For once, the Milwaukee Bucks conquered a Game 6 in the Bradley Center, as they took down the Boston Celtics 97-86 to create a Game 7 on Saturday night. Milwaukee looked listless for the initial nine minutes of the first period, but they finally made a late push as the quarter ended with Jabari Parker’s scoring spurt helping the Bucks trail only 24-22 after one. The second quarter started slowly at 1/5 shooting, but Milwaukee managed to heat up as it proceeded to finish at 54% on the half en route to a 48-39 lead at halftime. Milwaukee laid it on to start the third, but faltered before recovering for a 74-65 lead to start the fourth. Boston made their usual run as they had all night, but the Bucks, in particular Giannis, made huge shots to force a dramatic Game 7.
Game 6’s have been unkind to Milwaukee at home in recent years, but tonight Milwaukee grabbed hold of the lead and held off Boston at every turn. Their clutch rebounding, finally snagging more than the Celtics, prevented Boston from nabbing second chance points that have been killer all series long. Giannis took control of this game in the fourth quarter and made it clear he wasn’t letting this series end before a chance at Game 7.
Giannis Antetokounmpo heard fans cries about his lack of shooting attempts last game, making up for it tonight with 23 attempts. That resulted in a beastly 31 points and 14 rebounds, including a huge second half and clutch buckets down the stretch to give Milwaukee a steadying, powerful presence to close this one out.
Khris Middleton may have only had 16 points, but it came on a stellar 7-8 shooting performance. Malcolm Brogdon, who’s struggled in recent matches, came through huge tonight with a bounce back 16 points. Thon Maker’s defensive presence was far more present tonight in Milwaukee, using his insertion in the starting lineup to trouble Boston and snag seven huge boards. Jabari Parker had a less impactful scoring night, but made his presence felt with 11 rebounds and some clutch buckets to stave off Boston runs.
For Boston, Terry Rozier finally had a decent scoring game in Milwaukee, finishing with 18 points, albeit on 17 shots. Jayson Tatum looked far more seasoned than a rookie finally tonight, going for 22 points. Meanwhile, Al Horford was held to just 10 points.
Stat that Stood Out
25-4 fast break points - Milwaukee absolutely decimated Boston in fast break points, taking complete advantage of the Celtics in transition. That strategy alleviated much of their issues having to come up with halfcourt sets far too often stymied in Game 5 at Boston. The Bucks need to take advantage of their length and athleticism whenever possible, as few teams in the league have any answer for Giannis contorting his body driving to the rim before the defense is set.