Bucks take commanding 3-1 lead over Celtics
LOS ANGELES, USA – The Milwaukee Bucks only need one more victory to book their first trip to the NBA Eastern Conference finals in almost two decades.
Giannis Antetokounmpo again made it happen as the Bucks rolled past the Boston Celtics, 113-101, to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the conference semifinals on Monday, May 6 (Tuesday, May 7, Manila time).
Antetokounmpo unleashed 39 points, including 17 in the final quarter, and pulled down 16 rebounds to fuel the Bucks’ dominating second-half run.
A Game 5 win on Wednesday in Milwaukee will send the Bucks to the East finals for the first time since the 2001 team of Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson.
"It's amazing," Antetokounmpo said. "I think the whole group, the whole team played hard. Everybody was ready, everybody stepped up.
"This is what (separates) an average team from a great team," he added, "that if you have the opportunity to be up two games, we're all ready."
Milwaukee backup guard George Hill fired 15 points and dished out 5 assists to lead the Bucks bench in outscoring their Celtics counterpart, 32-7.
Eric Bledsoe also scored 13 and Khris Middleton had 13 points and 7 assists for the Bucks in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series in Boston.
"I couldn't get any shots off," said Middleton, who finished the night 4-of-19 from the field.
"I just tried to do all the little things – make the extra pass, drive and find open teammates and then feed this guy," he said with a nod toward Antetokounmpo.
"He took it over for us in the 4th quarter," Middleton said. "He was in foul trouble all night but he stayed with it."
The Celtics led by as many as 11 points, 30-19, in the 1st half before the Bucks rallied to move within a bucket, 65-67, in the 3rd quarter.
Behind Hill, the Bucks surged with a 13-1 run to wrest the lead, 78-68. By the final quarter, the Bucks continued to pull away behind Antetokounmpo.
Kyrie Irving paced the Celtics with 23 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and a couple of steals.
Al Horford added 20 points while Marcus Morris (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Jayson Tatum (17 points, 10 rebounds) also dropped double-doubles for the Celtics.
Overall, the Celtics made just 37.8% of their shots and heard boos from the home field as they left the court. – With a report from Agence France-Presse