Behind a bench explosion in the third quarter, the Milwaukee Bucks dispatched the Boston Celtics 113-101 to secure a 3-1 series lead.
The Bucks started slowly, finishing the first half shooting less than 40 percent and just 4-of-21 from three. Milwaukee chipped away at the lead in the second quarter, but still trailed 49-47 at halftime.
The second half saw the Bucks’ duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton get into quick foul trouble. Giannis picked up his fourth early in the third quarter, and Middleton was called for his fourth just a few minutes later. The Bucks’ #benchmob more than held its own, though, erupting in the third to send Milwaukee from down two at halftime to up eight, 80-72, at the end of three before coasting down the stretch.
Giannis had nearly half of the Bucks points midway through the second quarter, but was relatively quiet the rest of the half and into the third due to foul trouble. You wouldn’t know it by taking a peek at his stat line, however, as he finished with 39 points and 16 rebounds in just 34 minutes. A rested Giannis dominated the Celtics in the fourth quarter as Boston tried to rally late.
George Hill finished with 15 points, while Middleton and Eric Bledsoe added 13 each.
The Celtics were paced by Kryie Irving’s 23 points, but he did so on just 7-of-22 from the floor. Al Horford finished with 20 points, while Jayson Tatum added 17 for Boston.
Stat That Stood Out
As was the case in game three, the Bucks’ bench did some serious work. Milwaukee’s bench outscored Boston’s 32-7(!), including that crucial third-quarter stretch with Giannis and Middleton saddled with foul trouble.
Hill’s 15 led the way, but Pat Connaughton added 9 points and 10 rebounds, while Ersan Ilyasova chipped in 6 points and 6 boards. Connaughton’s block of Terry Rozier and dunk on the other end summed it up pretty nicely.
Pat Connaughton is putting in that WORK #FearTheDeer | #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/IYG46P6b8T— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 7, 2019
The series now heads back to Milwaukee for game five on Wednesday, with the Bucks looking to take a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.