ANDhe dominican Al Horford sealed 30 points, in the best performance of his career in the ‘playoffs’, and supported by Jayson Tatum’s 30 points, gave the Boston Celtics a 116-108 win on Monday on the field of the Milwaukee Bucks to tie the NBA East semifinal series 2-2.
At 35 years old, Horford dominated the match and also gave himself a tremendous kill over the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose 34 points and 18 rebounds were not enough for his Bucks to hit the table in this series, after taking the lead last Saturday in Game 3.
Horford scored 16 of his 30 points in the last period, with a brilliant five of seven in triples, and to them he added eight rebounds and three assists. He was supported by 30 points from Tatum, with thirteen rebounds and five assists, while Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown contributed 18 points each.
The Bucks weren’t enough with Giannis’s double-double or Brook Lopez’s 17 points and seven rebounds. The reigning champions paid for the loss of Khris Middleton, who remains out with a knee injury. They missed his quality in the triples and only scored nine of 27, for the 14 of 37 of the Celtics.
It didn’t take long for Giannis to take command of operations at the Fiserv Forumwith fifteen points in the light already in the first half, despite not having success in his three attempts from the perimeter.
The Greek dominated with his penetrations in the paint and led to an early ten-point lead for the Bucks at 21-11, but the Celtics, pushed by the nine points from Tatum and the eleven from Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, they managed to reduce the margin to a single point at the halfway point of the clash (47-48).
It was in the third period when the Bucks, to the rhythm of Giannis and Brook López, accelerated and got a double-digit lead in 76-65 against the Celtics that got stuck and crashed into the Bucks’ rocky defense.
Al Horford takes the baton
However, with momentum in favor of the Bucks, the Celtics had a forceful reaction, with a 10-0 run culminating in a tremendous dunk by Al Horford over Giannis for the 80-80.
In that action, after mate, Horford elbowed Antetokounmpo, drawing a technical foul for the Bucks. The Dominican player took revenge for a play by Giannis, who had challenged him with his eyes after a mate in the second quarter.
An exchange of brilliant offensive plays opened, with both teams that alternated at the head of the clash, to reach the final five minutes with everything to be decided.
Horford brushed against sporting omnipotence and chained triples and spectacular penetrations that allowed the Celtics to take a 98-94 lead, with a basket and added foul with which he reached 30 points.
His great performance, coupled with a powerful play in the paint and a Tatum 3-pointer shot the Celtics to 106-96 with 3:27 left, forcing a Bucks timeout. on the tightrope.
The Celtics dominated the final period and finished with 43 points to the Bucks’ 28, that they had to kneel at home and see how the series reopens completely.
The two teams will meet again next Wednesday at the Boston’s TD Garden for a new chapter in a series that still doesn’t have an owner.