Giannis Antetokounmpo shines as Bucks beat Celtics - News Coverage

Giannis Antetokounmpo shines as Bucks beat Celtics

BOSTON – Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo feasted in the paint and lived at the foul line in Game 3.

The Bucks MVP candidate scored a game-high 32 points and nearly had his first career playoff triple-double with 13 rebounds and eight assists as Milwaukee defeated Boston 123-116 on Friday.

The victory gives the Bucks a 2-1 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinals series.

Game 4 is Monday (7 p.m. ET, TNT).

Antetokounmpo made 8 of 13 shots from the field, and every one of his made baskets came at the rim. After going 5-for-9 on 3-pointers in the first two games, Antetokounmpo concentrated on punishing the Celtics with drive after drive from the perimeter to the rim.

He didn’t take a 3-pointer until late in the fourth quarter. If he wasn’t dunking or laying the ball in the hoop, he was drawing fouls and earning trips to the foul line. He made 16 of 22 free throws.

After blowouts – one for each team – in the first two games of this Eastern Conference semifinals series, Game 3 turned into a mostly one-sided affair even though the Celtics made it close at the end after trailing by double figures for most of the fourth quarter.

It was 56-55 Boston at halftime, but the Bucks dropped 40 points on the Celtics in the third quarter and outscored them 51-34 in the first 16 minutes of the second half for a 106-90 lead. It was 114-97 with 4:51 left in the game.

The Bucks delivered in an impressive offensive performance against one of the better defensive teams in the league, shooting 50.6% from the field.

Khris Middleton added 20 points, five assists and four rebounds for Milwaukee.

Opinion: This dominant Joel Embiid makes 76ers a true NBA Finals contender

More: Warriors, Steve Kerr cry foul over Stephen Curry’s one weakness

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 27 points, and Jayson Tatum had 20 points and nine rebounds.

Here were the keys to the game, beyond Antetokounmpo’s production:

Three-pointers and foul shots

Milwaukee shot 7-for-21 on threes in the first half but went 6-for-8 – two each by Middleton and George Hill – in the third quarter.

The Bucks, who were one of the more prolific 3-point shooting teams during the regular season, ended up at 40.5% from deep for the game. Milwaukee made 15 3-pointers while Boston hit 16, but the Bucks made theirs in bunches to extend the lead and create enough distance to win.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens wasn’t always happy about the fouls called in the game – nor were Celtics fans – but the overall discrepancy wasn’t egregious. Milwaukee shot 36 free throws to Boston’s 32. But in that decisive third quarter, the Bucks shot 17 free throws.

Bench play

Boston’s bench went scoreless until Gordon Hayward’s 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the second quarter. The Celtics’ reserves were 1-for-7 from the field in the first half and had just 16 points for the game – 10 from Hayward and six from Semi Ojeleye. Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes were shut out in the scoring column.

Milwaukee’s bench kept it in the game in the first half as its starting guards struggled offensively. Backup guard Pat Connaughton scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half, and Hill finished with 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting.

The Bucks’ reserves had 42 points.

 

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *