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Milwaukee vs. Boston Game 4: Celtics Surge Past Bucks Late, 116-108

Boston’s massive fourth quarter evens the series up at 2-2

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

This series is officially a best of three. The Boston Celtics were able to steal back homecourt advantage with a 116-108 victory and have knotted things up going back to Boston.

Prior to the game, Boston announced that Robert Williams would be sidelined due to left knee soreness. He had had surgery on that same knee six weeks ago.

Grant Williams was inserted into the starting lineup. The Bucks took advantage of the absence of Robert Williams early on, utilizing the space he’d normally take up. Numerous drives to the hoop were earned by the Bucks, which helped them build up a double-digit lead in addition to some 3-point shooting. Going into the second quarter, Milwaukee constructed a 25-18 lead.

The Celtics wouldn’t let that first quarter frustrate them. They showed composure and rode their own wave right back into it, taking back the lead halfway through the period thanks to the strong play of Al Horford. After they came back, it was pretty close between the two teams up until halftime. At the break, Milwaukee held a very minor 48-47 lead.

The third quarter started off like the previous two. The Buck started with a lead, only to be met by a run from Boston. However, a slurry of Celtics fouls put the Bucks in the bonus, which helped put them back in the driver’s seat. At the end of three, Milwaukee commandeered an 80-73 advantage.

Boston would immediately rattle off a run to go in front. It’d be a rollercoaster of sorts as the period went on, but in the later portion of the quarter, Al Horford went nuts. He nearly singlehandedly put Boston in front, and from there, the Celtics were able to put on the final touches, closing the door on Milwaukee. They’d end up evening the series with a 116-108 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo served as the leading scorer of the night among all players, finishing with 34 points. He didn’t get much more help though, as Brook Lopez was next in line with 17. Jrue Holiday finished with 16.

Al Horford and Jayson Tatum were the leading forces for Boston, both finishing with 30 point outings. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart both chimed in with 18 apiece.

Three Observations

That fourth quarter doomed the Bucks.

Boston literally could not miss in that fourth quarter. They outscored Milwaukee 43-28 in the final period, going 16-of-19 from the floor. Horford didn’t miss a shot, and Jaylen Brown didn’t even attempt a field goal. Some of the shots that Boston connected on were simply ridiculous, with the top one being an underhanded Jayson Tatum shot under duress. No matter what the Bucks threw at Boston defensively in that frame, no difference was made. Here’s Bud’s comments to us postgame:

“That’s the quarter, obviously. It goes without saying. We gotta look at the film. A few things stand out. Horford was good. He was good the entire game. He made several kind of big plays and big shots in the fourth quarter. And then Tatum had a few too, and Marcus they made the plays. They got to the paint, finished. They got to the paint, kicked, and made threes. We gotta do a better job of individually guarding them, as a team guarding them. But credit to them, and we gotta be better.”

Al Horford continues to be a thorn in Milwaukee’s side.

No matter the decade, Horford continues to give Bucks fans nightmares. He turned in a vintage performance yesterday to the tune of a 30 point performance, one which featured five 3-pointers being drained. It was incredible to me as to how the Bucks lost him out on the floor so many times, as it seemed over half of his shots came without a defender near him. He continues to be a crafty veteran out on the floor. Whenever things got rough for Boston, he was what calmed the waters and got them back on track.

Jayson Tatum showed up for the Celtics.

After posting an abysmal performance in Game 3, Jayson Tatum came back and delivered big time. He’d match Al Horford’s outing with 30 of his own, including some timely shots late and ultimately, the shot that proved to be the dagger late in the fourth. And oh yeah, like I mentioned, he hit that wild underhand circus shot. He needed to step up with Jaylen Brown finding himself in foul trouble, and he did exactly that.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • I’ve seen lots of obscure jerseys at Bucks games through the years. However, this may take the cake:
  • Wesley Matthews had a solid outing for the Bucks. While he wasn’t as effective on the defensive end on Tatum this time out, he connected on several 3-pointers, which gave Milwaukee boosts of momentum.
  • Jrue Holiday had a night to forget. He simply couldn’t get much done on the offensive end. His final shot line read just 5-of-22, which resulted in a -23 RPM. If Milwaukee wants to have any chance of winning in Boston, he’ll simply have to be better.
  • Bobby Portis played only 15 minutes. In his presser, Bud mentioned Boston playing small ball as the leading reason as to why that occurred.
  • Pat was a small bright spot for the Bucks. He’d be the leading spark off the bench, capping his evening with 11 points off the pine, nine of which were via the 3-point ball.
  • You have to give credit to Marcus Smart. He was big when it mattered the most, especially on the offensive side of things. He wasn’t the leading scorer on the night, but his 18 points were timely and helped aid a Boston team that was without Jaylen Brown due to foul trouble. A big performance from Smart.
  • It was interesting to see only 27 3PA for the Bucks. They typically shoot more. On the other side of the coin, Boston hoisted up 37.
  • Last, here’s something positive to end on: