Boston Celtics evens series 2-2; How will the Milwaukee Bucks answer in Game 5?

Giannis and Tatum (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Giannis and Tatum (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Boston Celtics used a historic fourth-quarter performance to steal Game 4 in Milwaukee to tie the Eastern Conference semifinals at 2-2. 

The Boston Celtics evened the series at 2-2, with a 116-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Monday night’s game was a must-win for the Celtics and they took care of business when they needed to.

Each team needs two more wins to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Will the Bucks be able to make the Conference championship for two straight years, or will Boston, be heading back for the first time since the 2019-20 NBA season?

For a good portion of Game 4, Boston was fighting from behind to try and keep Milwaukee’s lead to a manageable number. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Celtics were down 80-73, where they would then go on to outscore the Bucks 43-28 to get the win.

Boston tied their franchise playoff record for most points scored in the fourth quarter. In the fourth, they shot 16-19 from the field, 4-5 from the three-point line, and 7-7 from the free-throw line. The Celtics were down for most of the game but were able to turn it on and play flawlessly when it mattered most.

Both Jayson Tatum and Al Horford scored 30 points in the team’s Game 4 victory. Horford will be 36 in less than a month and he was still able to drop a playoff career-high 30 points. Along with his 30 points, he had eight rebounds and three assists. He also went 5-7 from deep and shot 79 percent from the field for the game.

The Celtics only used a total of eight players in Game 4, compared to the Bucks’ 13 players used. I think that speaks to how talented the Celtics’ best players are. Boston had three players who played at least 41 minutes.

On top of the incredible defensive intensity that Boston brings to every game, they can hurt you on the offensive end as well. As a team, Boston shot exactly 50 percent from the field, 38 percent from deep, and 90 percent from the free-throw line. Consistent scoring and smothering defense are key factors for winning in the playoffs.

Yes, Boston did play a great fourth quarter to fight from behind and get the win. Don’t count out the Bucks, however. They know how to fight adversity on the road. Milwaukee was in a similar situation in the second round of last year’s playoffs.

The Bucks won Game 7 on the road vs. the Brooklyn Nets in last year’s East semifinals. I have a similar feeling about this year’s series between Boston and Milwaukee. Whoever wins this series has a serious shot at winning the NBA Finals, in my opinion.

Milwaukee had control for a majority of the game, but could not hold back the Celtics in the fourth. Last night was a game where the Bucks really missed the offensive output they got from Khris Middleton. He’s been able to participate in some shooting, dribbling, and “very light contact.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the heart and soul of that Milwaukee team, and he’s a big factor in their recent playoff success. He was hurting his team yesterday with his poor shooting performance. Former NBA head coach and NBA game analyst Stan Van Gundy spoke about how Giannis was settling for three-pointers and jump shots.

Antetoukounmpo’s specialty is not shooting the ball; that is more of a luxury when he shoots the ball well. He is shooting the three-pointer at 13 percent in this series vs Boston. In Monday’s loss, Giannis shot 14-32 from the field, 0-4 from deep, and 6-11 from the free-throw line. He still had an impressive 34 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists.

The Bucks need more offensively from their stars and role players as well. Jrue Holiday played 41 minutes in Game 4, only scoring 17 points and went 1-6 from deep. Holiday has had to be that second-leading scorer for the Bucks while Middleton is out.

The series is heading back to Boston for Game 5. Milwaukee will have to withstand the rowdy crowd at TD Garden if they want to come out with a win. Somebody on the Bucks has to step up and help ease the scoring duties of Antetokounmpo.

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Boston is happy to be back home in front of the ride-or-die Celtic fans. They know how much homecourt advantage means in the playoffs. Do the Bucks have an answer to Boston tying up the series or are the Celtics going to take a 3-2 lead after Game 5?