Milwaukee, down 13 in the middle of the fourth period, knocks out the Celtics thanks to 36 points from the Greek
The Milwaukee Bucks give themselves an unforgettable Christmas comeback. They beat Boston 117-113 recovering from -19, from -13 in the last quarter. Moving forward for the first time with 30 seconds left, surgical and ferocious. The hero, for a change, is Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek, in doubt until the last moment, returns after 5 absent games, spent in the Covid protocol, in a thunderous way: 36 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, unstoppable in the last quarter. The Bucks (22-13) have a 14-2 record with him, Middleton and Holiday on the pitch. A few too many hitches came only because so far they have not been able to play together continuously.
The Celtics (16-17) are better than their record indicates. They had beaten the Bucks twice this season already, the three of a kind seemed like a done deal. And instead… at the most beautiful Tatum and Brown got jammed, and Giannis broke through Williams’ defensive wall. However, the performance was good, with Brown exceptional at the start of the game, Smart superb in the third period, Williams physically, the team always intense. And with a very good Pritchard off the bench. The rotation of just 8 men (9 were in the Covid protocol, including Richardson and Schröder), and with just 12 available for Coach Udoka, cost dearly in the long run in terms of energy spent.
Allen and Cousins start in quintet for the Bucks, Langford for the C’s. Immediately 17-5 Boston at the start thanks to an inspired Brown (5/5 to start), with Boogie dodging every attack by the Celtics. Embarrassing. The first change of champions is DiVincenzo, who makes his seasonal debut, after an injury suffered in the first round of the last playoffs, welcomed by the ovation of his audience. With 1’33 ”to play in the first quarter, Brown goes early in the locker room hit by Tatum: broken tooth. 35-22 after 12 ‘of play. Boston shoots 60% Brown with 14 points. Boston also +19, and Brown returns, the Bucks go to zone in defense to save (their) Christmas. Portis finally brings from the bench the nastiness that Coach Bud’s guys lack, too soft. But super Pritchard from the bench is a precious reinforcement for the greens, ahead 62-47 at the interval despite the triple on Hill’s siren. Boston more intense, Brown fabulous on both sides of the field, with 19 points.
Antetokoumpo raises his voice in the 3rd quarter, unstoppable, Smart keeps the Celtics afloat scoring 12 points in the partial. Milwaukee regains confidence in shooting: Middleton brings it back -1, Portis shows testosterone levels from visions forbidden to minors. However, Boston resists the storm and after 36 ‘is ahead 94-90 despite Brown having stopped scoring. The protagonist you do not expect, Jabari Parker, among other things an ex, for someone a former player, certainly ex Bucks, changes the score of a match in which inertia seemed to have returned to the fingertips of the hosts. The Duke winger scores two three-pointers in a row and then perfects an old-fashioned 3-point game. +13 Celtics in the 4th quarter, but that’s not all. 9-0 by partial Bucks with a “jerk” from Giannis to force the final sprint. Giannis drew with 1’29 “to play: 111 all. With 30 ”to play then comes Matthews’ triple for the first Bucks advantage of the race. Resounding. Boston stumbles on the most beautiful: first Tatum loses the ball, then Brown misses the place. Middleton from the line is unforgiving. Unforgettable Christmas at the Bucks home.
Milwaukee: Antetokounmpo 36 (13/21, 0/2, 10/15 tl), Middleton 17, Holiday 17. Rimbalzi: Antetokounmpo 12. Assist: Middleton 7.
Boston: Brown 25, Tatum 25, Smart 19. Rimbalzi: Williams 14. Assist: Smart 7.
December 25, 2021 (change December 25, 2021 | 23:36)
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