The series between Celtics and Bucks came to Milwaukee, home of the NBA champion. The Fiserv Forum, a pavilion that had a lot to do with the 2021 ring and that today has demonstrated that power. Because of the atmosphere, because of the energy of its players or because the referees, who throughout the game had not exactly been homemade (17 free throws by the Bucks to 34 by the Celtics), shot towards the same, the one from Milwaukee, in the last two plays: in the last local attack that ended in a basket by Jrue Holiday putting his team 3 up and in the penultimate for the Celtics. On the first of two plays, Jrue shoved Jayson Tatum, his defender, with his arm just before shooting. Debatable action at least. In the second, Marcus Smart was starting the shooting action from the perimeter when he was fouled, but the referees didn’t see it that way and gave him two free throw shots instead of three, which was the difference in that game. moment on the scoreboard (103-100).
Smart hit the first, shot to miss the second, took his own rebound, missed; Robert Williams took the rebound and also missed; Al Horford got the offensive rebound again and missed; and, finally, once again the Dominican center picked up his own rebound to, this time, put it in… But out of time. A basket that would have forced the extension. A play with four attempts under the basket that took the breath away from the Bucks fans, who saw how shortly before the Celtics managed to get ahead for the first time since just after the break. The third part had not been favorable for the visitors. Jrue Holiday, Brook López, an inspired Pat Conaughton, a tireless Bobby Portis… Together they left them with 17 points during those 12 minutes. Among them and, of course, also Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Greek made a superhuman match. He finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists, and starred in several key plays in the final minutes, such as the penultimate basket of his team with a movement in the post worthy of the best centers in history or a block immediately after on Jaylen Brown , who at the time was the most inspired player on the Celtics alongside Horford. The Dominican rescued his team at the beginning of the last quarter. In just 4 and a half minutes, the Celtics had more points (18) than in the entire previous period. Horford made baskets of all colors, including two triples, which left the game on the wire. That’s where Brown came in. Between them they finished with 59 goals. The same can’t be said for Jayson Tatum, who had what is probably his worst game in the playoffs: 10 points, 4/19 shooting from the field and 0/6 3-point shooting. Special mention for Wesley Mathews, who with him as a defender finished 0/10.
But the worst of all this is that when things don’t work out for Tatum in attack, he tends to disperse and this time he did it more than necessary, starring in some images in defense of authentic shame. That, in the best defense of the regular season, is less allowable than normal. That defense was the one that gave the final push in the comeback attempt, when the Bucks began to get stuck in attack and miss Khris Middleton more than ever, that player capable of generating shots and points beyond his own systems and alien. Fortunately for Milwaukee the victory stayed at home. A victory that could be key, because in series as even as this seems to be, the third games often mark the future of the tie. And because the Bucks have shown, twice out of three against the Celtics, that despite not being able to count on their second best player, their champion spirit is still intact. And his desire to win too. Against all that and against the threat of 3-1, the Celtics will come out to fight on Monday, in a life or death match for them.