Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Boston Celtics take series lead in game one thriller

The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves will decide the final playoff spot on Wednesday The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves will decide the final playoff spot on Wednesday
| 16 April, 2018, 12:08

The Bucks were down 99-96 with 0.5 seconds to play when Khris Middleton took an inbounds pass and drained a contested 35 foot three pointer to tie the game. The Milwaukee Bucks are shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc and 79.2 percent from the free throw line.

Boston would go on to surrender a buzzer beater to send the game to overtime, but ultimately emerged victorious, thanks in no small part to Rozier's contributions.

Antetokounmpo and Middleton were the first pair of Bucks teammates to score 30 apiece in a playoff game since Bob Dandridge and Brian Winters did so in 1976.

But with five Celtics in double figures (and four totaling 20 points or more), Boston has more than enough to cruise. Malcolm Brogdon is the third double-digit scorer and John Henson is grabbing six rebounds.

In 54 games this season, Smart averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 29.9 minutes. The Bucks trailed late, but still held a shred of hope when Antetokounmpo went to the free throw line with 14.8 seconds remaining. Just imagine them at full strength next season.

The "kids" on the squad came through on the big stage as Rozier scored eight of his 23 points in overtime, Jaylen Brown scored 20 points while playing nearly 46 minutes, and rookie Jayson Tatum scored 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in 44 minutes. Jayson Tatum chipped in 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals in his career playoff game.

Rozier added 23 points, four rebounds and three assists for Boston in his first career playoff start.

The Boston Celtics are without their star point guard this postseason, but his replacement got off to a blazing start Sunday afternoon. The rest of Cleveland's starters only managed 25 points, Kevin Love with 17 rebounds but only nine points.


"Like I said, we're optimistic, but we're not going to rush anything", Smart added.

If the series does need seven games, then the finale would take place on April 28 in Beantown.

After missing the second free throw off back rim, Antetokounmpo charged into the lane for the offensive board. Jabari Parker logged just 15 minutes and finished with two points, while Thon Maker and Shabazz Muhammad didn't even take the floor. The Milwaukee Bucks are allowing 42.3 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 42 rebounds per game.

The C's went up by eight with 9:37 left in the game.

Al Horford, however, was the one player who set the tone on both ends, and made sure absolutely everything had to be done. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Middleton put up great numbers, but Horford made sure it was never easy, and disrupted then any time he needed to.

Rozier's 3-pointer gave the Celtics a 104-103 lead with 3:43 left in overtime.

Horford understands how this team needs to function as well as anyone, and Brad Stevens is able to use one of the most unique skill sets in the National Basketball Association to open everything up for these secondary players that still need some help.

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