The Boston Celtics came out of game one of their playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks with a 1-0 lead, but it was a far from easy win over the number seven seed. Their 113-107 win came in overtime after a wild finish to the fourth quarter.
Towards the end of the fourth quarter, Boston had a two-point lead until rookie Jayson Tatum made a rookie mistake which resulted in a turnover. Luckily the Celtics defense kicked in and Terry Rozier posted a dazzling basket with .5 seconds left. While the game seemed over at that point, Rozier’s basket was followed up by an equally dazzling and contested buzzer beater from Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton from 35-feet out. After review, it was determined that the ball left Middleton’s hands before the buzzer and overtime was deemed necessary to finish this one.
Each team had advantages and their fair share of weaknesses throughout the game—the Bucks had 20 turnovers which converted into 27 points for the Celtics while Milwaukee came out, guns blazing in the second quarter as they topped the Celtics in scoring on a 26-7 run. The game was tit for tat and one that you really didn’t want to turn off early.
All in all, the injury-riddled Celtics who are without Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, Gordon Hayward, and Kyrie Irving put up some impressive numbers up and down the lineup. Veteran Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Rozier had 23 points and four rebounds, and rookies Jaylen Brown and Tatum finished with 20 and 19 points respectively to cap off the night.
There was good news for the Celtics preceding the game as Smart was wearing a new splint and was shooting around before the game. Smart, who has been out since March 11 recovering from a broken thumb, could return as early as the end of the series with the Bucks which would be a huge boost for the Celtics. Smart was recently cleared for non-contact shooting but has not resumed full basketball activity.
“Both teams are going to keep fighting,” said Bucks coach Joe Prunty after the game. “That’s what this series is going to be. Each little play is going to matter.” Game two of the series is set for Tuesday night in Boston and is sure to be a thriller after today’s whirlwind fourth quarter.
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