The Milwaukee Bucks have made this into a series … barely. After a 20-point lead in Game 4 against the Celtics, the Bucks were able to record a 104-102 victory with a 5.1-second advantage thanks to a Giannis Antetokounmpo tip-in. This series is tied to two.
Antetokounmpo finished 27 points, Khris Middleton shot 23 and Jabari Parker 16 for Milwaukee. Boston got another massive game from Jaylen Brown (34 points, eight rebounds) and a solid performance from Jayson Tatum (21 points to 16 shots), but it was not enough.
It looked like the Bucks would run away this thing after an antetokounmpo bang gave them a 65-45 lead in the middle of the third quarter. Instead, the Celtics patiently fought back and narrowed the deficit to eight by the end of the third and even closer as the fourth quarter began. This jumper from Tatum gave them their first lead of the game.
But Milwaukee got the lead back after Brown was pulled out in the open floor, leading to a Malcolm Brogdon three. After Al Horford combined the game with two free throws, the Bucks survived Giannis' Putback
Here's what happened in reverse chronological order in the game.
. 4 Quarter: Bucks 1
04, Celtics 102, FINAL
0.0 seconds: That's it. Boston gave Marcus Morris a pretty good idea of the isolation, but it was well fought and rattled off the ridge.
This series is tied at two. What a win for the Bucks and what a damn game.
5.1 seconds: Wow, heartbreaking for Boston. The Celtics are playing a great defense to force Malcolm Brogdon into a wild shot … only for Giannis Antetokounmpo to surpass Jayson Tatum and let it happen.
Timeout Celtics. Everything boils down to it.
29.6 seconds: Two FTs for Al Horford. Tie game. Bucks have it.
33.5 seconds: AAAHHHHH Oh my god. First, Giannis Antetokounmpo turned for a foul. Instead of pulling it out, Jaylen Brown flew to the tire … and he turned after Khris Middleton took it off.
In the ensuing quick break, Eric Bledsoe sent a fine pass from Malcolm Brogdon for a corner three. The Bucks lead again.
52.4 seconds: The Celtics lead! The Celtics lead! Jayson Tatum has taken a nasty step and they have come all the way back from 20 points. In a time of wild comebacks this would take the cake.
1:20: HOW THEN JAYLEN BROWN CREATED ANOTHER STEP THREE. That's 34 for Brown, and it's a one-point game.
And then the Bucks turned it on a terrible property, much to the chagrin of Hubie Brown.
2:40: Not over yet! Terry Rozier has hit a giant-three after the Bucks have botched an OTHER fast-break, and it's a three-point game.
3:59: Um … Giannis Antetokounmpo immortalized Al Horford on a poster forever. That's ridiculous.
And the common jug!
Boston has taken its course, but it's running out of gas. Can Milwaukee finish that?
6:11: The shotgun in this fourth quarter is ridiculous. Jayson Tatum came in third at the end of the clock, followed by a Khris Middleton with Al Horford in his face 3, followed by a Terry Rozier Steckack three.
You are better off.
The Celtics tied it short before Thon Maker hit three high on the key. Thon did that too.
9:43 – Shane Larkin just slipped and fell, and he made the heads-up game to hit Marcus Morris in the corner for an open three. Incredible.
10:37 – TIMEOUT, Bucks
Jaylen Brown wears Boston. He was just drilling a DEEEEP three to reduce Boston's lead to only three. This one will be fine, you know me here.
End of Q3: Bucks 75, Celtics 67
The Bucks even made up to 20 in the third quarter, but Boston rode savagely for a comeback to reduce the single-digit deficit. They just overtook Milwaukee every 50/50 balls. That can not happen if the Bucks protect the house dish.
Joe Prunty draws a page from Phil Jackson's book and decides not to call a break during a wild Celtics run. Milwaukee just can not stop, but Prunty lets her play. Boston comes to every loose ball and overtakes Milwaukee at both ends.
4:15 – Giannis meets a mid-range jumper who puts an end to a 12-2 Celtics run. Another basket could completely destroy Boston's momentum. Then Antetokounmpo came up with a triple on all three glasses, so it does.
5:47 – TIMEOUT, Milwaukee
The Celtics made it a game. They build up momentum, come to a halt and move the ball in attack. Milwaukee can not afford Boston to catapult things into the fourth quarter.
7:37 – TIMEOUT, Celtics
The Bucks get practically everything they want in the attack. This is against a league-best Boston defense, but there's not much they can do to stop Milwaukee's attack.
8:28 – The dollars have had defensive success by switching all screens, but now the Celtics are trying to take advantage of the mismatch on the low block. It works somehow, but they need bigger games to catch up quickly.
Brad Stevens: "Jaylen Brown needs help."
HALFTIME: Bucks 51, Celtics 35
The Bucks play as the team the world has come to expect. With Giannis Antetokounmpo (10), Khris Middleton (13) and Jabari Parker (12), who scored 35 points in the first half, their key stars come to life. Defensively her statements are lanky and versatile. They paint streets and force Boston to two- and three-headed duels. The Celtics are 5 out of 13 from the deep, but that will not be enough if they want to cover this ground.
4:00 – Jaylen Brown tries to get the Celtics back. He has just checked back into the game and now has 12 points to lead Boston. It will take much more from others, but Brown's energy gives his team a jolt.
The length and versatility of the Bucks in defense really gives Boston some problems.
9:45 – Eric Bledsoe has simply done what he does best: using a discrepancy with Aron Bayes, Tony Snell found Tony wide open for a three when the help came.
10:47 – Thon Maker Is Really Out Here (19659043) End of 1st Quarter: Bucks 24, Celtics 17
The Bucks came out in the first wave and had a wild end in the first quarter. Jabari Parker made a two-for-one quick break and made up for it by forcing sales on the other side. That led to a cheeky Khris Middleton up-and-under, but then something strange happened.
The Celtics just chased the ball a second to the left so that Matthew Dellavedova could intervene for the Steal Summer-Beat layup.
The Celtics get good basketball from Jayson Tatum, but the Bucks fire from all directions. That was a great first quarter if you're a Milwaukee fan.
2:00 -The Bucks have taken a step. They swarm defensively and take shots at the other end. Thon Maker has just met two fought opponents. If this shot will fall, Boston is for a long night.
4:25 – Easy money. Giannis found the mismatch on the low block and his teammates found him. Boston has not met in a short time.
7:21 – TIMEOUT, Milwaukee
The Celtics turn the Bucks over and get out. This is the Boston team we saw in Game 1.
Milwaukee fans are truly singing "BUCKS IN 6", which is good, I think.
The Bucks showed signs of life after an anemic match 3 at home Boston won in Milwaukee in Game 4 thanks to a great head of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker and Thon Maker. The start of the series felt like Giannis against the world, but the Bucks' support finally came alive in the team's 24-point win, with Middleton, Bledsoe, Parker and Maker coming together for 71 points.
It was a role reversal in the series when the Celtics only got 20 points from Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who together had scored 48 points to enter Game 3. Now the Bucks have a chance to repeat the series in Milwaukee in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon (1pm, ABC).
It's still a tough fight for the Bucks to turn this series on the horizon with a return to Boston, but with Giannis anything is possible.
Delly felt relaxed before the game.
Celtics Vs. Bucks Game 4 info
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Running time: 13:00 ET
Announcer: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Mark Jones, Hubie Brown, Doris Burke and Lisa Salters
Online Stream: ABC Go (in selected markets)