By: Jeffrey Newholm
As Tim Duncan found out after preceding Derek Fischer’s memorable game winner, it’s a big roll of the dice to give an opponent time and a timeout. It seemed that Terry Rozier had won the game for Celtics with a step-back three with just .5 second left Sunday afternoon. But as the great philosopher Yogi Berra said, “it’s not over until it’s over!” Khris Money Middleton responded with a 35 foot jumper that threatened to short-change Boston fans’ pricey playoff investment. However the check seemed to bounce, as the Celtics did manage to hold in to win in overtime, 113-107. What do both teams have to do from here to win what appears to be a sluggish and physical series?
If the Bucks are to win four of the next six, they will need more players to contribute. Antetokounmpo and Middleton combined for 66 points, but only one other Buck was in double figures. By contrast, five Celtics scored 19 points or more. But Boston rather foolishly played into Milwaukee’s hands with their game plan. The Celtics shot just 11-26 from three and seemed content to try to grind the Bucks out. Milwaukee has been geared for physical paint play for years and won the paint battle 58-44. The Bucks also quickly demonstrated it won’t roll over and die with a 24-4 second quarter counter-run.
Although it wasn’t quite in a winning effort, Antetokounmpo clearly fought the hardest. Even with his team falling behind in overtime, he fought valiantly for lose balls twice. After fouling out the second time, he exhibited considerable angst over relinquishing the chance to help his team. If he maintains the same intensity Tuesday, and the Celtics come out with the same 80% effort, the Bucks will likely tie the series as it shifts to the Midwest.