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Celtics 109, Bucks 86

How it happened: Celtics beat Bucks, 109-86, to even series at 1-1

The crowd went wild after Jaylen Brown hit one of his six three-pointers on Tuesday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Read all the Globe’s Celtics coverage here

The Celtics led wire-to-wire on Tuesday night, coming away with a decisive 109-86 win over the Bucks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at TD Garden.

Jaylen Brown barely missed in the first half, and finished with 30 points. Grant Williams had a career high of 21, and Jayson Tatum scored 30.

The Celtics allowed 28 points to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Game 3 is on Saturday in Milwaukee at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Read Adam Himmelsbach’s Instant Analysis from Game 2 right here.

Box score | Play-by-play


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Shaughnessy: Celtics made a statement — 9:45 p.m.

The Celtics were in need of a statement game. All the feel-good momentum from their sweep of the No No (Nan) Nets went away with Sunday’s Game 1 Garden smackdown at the hands of the defending world champion Milwaukee Bucks.

The national narrative seemed to be turning away from Boston as a dangerous team, bound for the NBA Finals. Marcus Smart was hurt, and pundits were calling out Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, both of whom underperformed in the series opener.

With this negativity in their heads and Smart (bruised thigh) on the shelf, the Celtics responded with one of their better games of the season, bolting to a 65-40 halftime lead, and playing smash-mouth defense in a 109-86 wire-to-wire Game 2 victory over the Bucks at the Garden. Brown (seven turnovers and 4-for-13 shooting in Game 1) scored 30 points, hitting 11 of 18 shots, 6 of 10 from international waters. And Grant Williams came off the bench to score 21 points, hitting 6 of 9 3-pointers.

Read the rest of Dan Shaughnessy’s column here.

Adam Himmelsbach’s observations — 9:41 p.m.

By Adam Himmelsbach

Jaylen Brown’s first shot was a mid-range attempt from the key that gently bounced around the rim before falling through. And maybe that was all he needed to see. Having been held to just 12 points in Game 1, Brown put the Celtics on his back during a dominant opening quarter with an array of tough step-back jumpers. He was 6 for 7 from the field and 3 for 3 from the 3-point line. He could have been called for a push-off on a couple of them, but the officials were letting things go on both sides for much of the half. Brown made 9 of 10 shots and 5 of 5 3-pointers and scored 25 points before halftime.


Read the rest here.

What Jaylen Brown said after the game — 9:40 p.m.

Why he got to the arena so early: “To get my body going early, get some recovery time in between [the workout and the game].”

What the team talked about after the tough Game 1 loss: “We can’t let one game define our season. We’ve been resilient all year.”

This one’s over. — 9:35 p.m.

Celtics win.

Another three for Grant Williams — 9:29 p.m.

That’s his sixth (!) three-pointer. He has 21 points tonight.

Celtics 107, Bucks 86, 1:52, Q4.

Celtics 99, Bucks 86 — 9:28 p.m.

Boston has made 15 more threes than Milwaukee.

Boston needed that — 9:22 p.m.

With the Bucks within 12 and the Celtics offense stuttering, Jaylen Brown dished to Jayson Tatum on the baseline for a big three-pointer.

Watch here:

Celtics 97, Bucks 83, 3:52 Q4.

😬 — 9:18 p.m.

Grant Williams has 18 points — 9:15 p.m.

That’s a playoff best for him.

Robert Williams doesn’t care about fouls — 9:12 p.m.

Bucks get as close as they’ve been in a while — 9:11 p.m.

Milwaukee is down, 88-73 — the closest it has been since the middle of the second quarter.

Celtics in the bonus — 9:07 p.m.

Stat check — 8:56 p.m.

Jaylen Brown didn’t score in the third quarter, and still has 25.


Tatum: 19 points; Grant Willimas: 14 points.

Antetodkounmpo scored 18 in the third quarter for a total of 23.

Celtics 83, Bucks 66 at the end of the third — 8:54 p.m.

Boston has never trailed.

Jaylen asks to come out, but Rob Williams steps up — 8:49 p.m.

The crowd is going wild after Jayson Tatum grabbed a loose ball and lobbed it to Robert Williams, who sunk a thunderous dunk.

Celtics 81, Bucks 60. 2:09 in the third quarter.

Video: Spotted with Brad Stevens? Bill Belichick — 8:47 p.m.

The Patriots coach was shown on the broadcast with president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and Kara Lawson, Duke women’s coach and former Celtics assistant.

4:49, Q3: Celtics 72, Bucks 56 — 8:44 p.m.

The Celtics have four players in double figures.

Scenes from the game — 8:35 p.m.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finds his way to the basket while being impeded by Grant and Robert Williams.Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Giannis Antetokounmpo steals the ball from Al Horford.Maddie Meyer/Getty
All eyes were on Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who was scalding hot throwing up threes in the first half.Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Robert Williams III takes a shot over Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first quarter.Maddie Meyer/Getty

Celtics lead, 72-52, with 6:38 to go in 3Q — 8:31 p.m.

Al Horford injured? Refs looking at flagrant — 8:23 p.m.

UPDATE: Portis’s foul was ruled a Flagrant 1.

Bobby Portis’s foul on Al Horford is being reviewed by referees.

Giannis finally makes a 3 — 8:22 p.m.

But the Celtics keep sinking shots. Celtics 70, Bucks 46, 9:31 Q3.

Brown misses his first three of the night — 8:19 p.m.

All good things must come to an end.

Second half begins, and Celtics hold 65-40 lead — 8:18 p.m.

The Bucks start off with an offensive foul, then Giannis Antetokounmpo gets called with a foul on Derrick White.

The stars are out — 8:10 p.m.

The Patriots continue to show up at TD Garden, with Nelson Agholor, David Andrews, Jonnu Smith, Kendrick Bourne, Josh Uche, Christian Barmore, and Ronnie Perkins all in the house. Rapper Gucci Mane and his wife Keyshia Ka’Oir are also sitting courtside.

Sharing the love — 8:08 p.m.

They cannot miss — 8:06 p.m.

The Celtics are making their threes at an incredibly high clip, 12 of 19 (63.2 percent). Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, and Payton Pritchard each have not missed from behind the arc.

Brown’s 25 points in the first half were the most in one half in his playoff career.

The Celtics scored 70 through three quarters on Sunday. They have 65 at the half tonight.


Halftime stats — 8:04 p.m.

Brown: 25 points

Pritchard: 11 points

Tatum: 10 points

Horford: 9 points

Holiday: 11 points

Connaughton: 9 points

Antetokounmpo: 7 points

An incredible showing from Jaylen Brown — 8:01 p.m.

Jaylen Brown missed just once in the first half, and the Celtics lead the Bucks, 65-40, at the half.

This ball movement! — 7:55 p.m.

Ime Udoka’s challenge was no good — 7:53 p.m.

Ime Udoka challenged the blocking foul on Derrick White late in the second quarter, but it was unsuccessful. White, who started in place of Marcus Smart (right quad), was charged with his third foul. Payton Pritchard will likely earn some more minutes with White in foul trouble.

Celtics up by nearly 20 with under 5 left in the second quarter — 7:49 p.m.

Not only are the Celtics’ shots falling, but they haven’t let Giannis Antetokounmpo get to the rim.

Kara Lawson is in the house — 7:47 p.m.

Former assistant coach Kara Lawson, now head coach of Duke’s women’s team, is in the house:

How the Celtics are guarding Antetokounmpo — 7:45 p.m.

The Celtics aren’t doubling Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is 1 of 10 from the field. Antetokounmpo did an outstanding job finding his open teammates in Game 1, but those outlets are not there tonight. Three of Antetokounmpo’s 10 attempts have come from behind the arc, which the Celtics will certainly welcome.

Jaylen Brown is 4 for 4 from 3 — 7:39 p.m.

Celtics 42, Bucks 28, 6:58 in the second quarter.

Just as we expected — 7:37 p.m.

First quarter stats — 7:30 p.m.

Jaylen Brown: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal

Jayson Tatum: 5 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists

Grant Williams: 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist

Jrue Holiday: 7 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists

Bobby Portis: 5 points, 1 rebound

Pat Connaughton: 5 points, 1 rebound

Jaylen Brown cannot miss — 7:27 p.m.

Jaylen Brown truly cannot miss right now. With Grayson Allen playing tight defense and the shot clock expiring, Brown drilled a step-back three-pointer. He now has 17 first-quarter points, more than half Boston’s total.


Jaylen Brown is on fire, and LeBron is taking notice — 7:21 p.m.

After a rough performance in Game 1, Jaylen Brown has bounced back emphatically. He’s single-handedly outscored the Bucks, 14-12, and made 5 of his 6 field goal attempts, including two from behind the arc. When Brown drilled a midrange jumper after Grayson Allen fell to his feet, the crowd went wild.

Even LeBron James took notice.

Jaylen Brown has 10 points already — 7:16 p.m.

Brown has 10 points (two 3-pointers) just 6.5 minutes into the game. He had 12 all of Sunday.

You couldn’t ask for a better start — 7:12 p.m.

You couldn’t ask for a better start from the Celtics, who jumped out to a 15-3 lead. The Bucks, meanwhile, have missed nine of their first 10 shots. Giannis Antetokounmpo is 0 of 6, including 0 of 2 from three. Grant Williams has been playing great defense.

Q1, 8:00: Celtics 7, Bucks 3 — 7:08 p.m.

A quick start for Boston — 7:04 p.m.

Boston has made its first two shots.

Wait — make it three. Jaylen Brown sinks a three-pointer to make it 7-0 two minutes in.

What it’s like at TD Garden right now — 7:00 p.m.

There are a number of empty seats during starting lineup announcements, probably a result of Boston traffic and the early 7 p.m. tip-off, but the fans in attendance managed to get their usual boos off for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Co-owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca are courtside, and several Patriots are expected to be in attendance as well.

Where’s the crowd? — 6:54 p.m.

Arlington’s Pat Connaughton visits with friends — 6:47 p.m.

Bucks guard Pat Connaughton, who grew up in Arlington, caught up with friends before Tuesday’s game at TD Garden.

Arlington native and St. John's Prep grad Pat Connaughton, now a member of the Bucks, has a laugh as he is seated in courtside seats before the game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Marcus Smart could be back for Game 3 — 6:43 p.m.

By Adam Himmelsbach

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is missing Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the visiting Bucks on Tuesday night because of a right quadriceps contusion.

Smart suffered the injury when he was hit twice in the leg during Boston’s 101-89 loss in Game 1 on Sunday.

Udoka said with three days off before Saturday’s Game 3 in Milwaukee, Smart will likely be able to return for that game.

Read more here.

Starting lineups — 6:40 p.m.

Celtics starters: Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams

Unavailable: Marcus Smart

Bucks starters: Jrue Holiday, Wesley Matthews, Bobby Portis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez

Unavailable: Khris Middleton, George Hill

Grant Williams dishes on Celtics’ tactics to guard Antetokounmpo — 6:10 p.m.

By Adam Himmelsbach

The Celtics limited Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to 9 of 25 shooting in Game 1, but he inflicted damage elsewhere by dishing out 12 assists.

Udoka said Monday that there were times in Game 1 when the Celtics double-teamed Antetokounmpo when it was not necessary. Before Tuesday’s game, Grant Williams said Boston’s defenders need to make timely decisions when determining how to swarm the former MVP.

“It’s understanding when and where to help and what to do,” Williams said. “Talented player, phenomenal guy. You have to do a good job of playing him solid, keeping him in front, and making sure you get out to the shooters because all of those guys do that extremely well. I think Grayson [Allen] is shooting 65 percent on catch-and-shoots this playoffs, so we have to do a great job on who we’re guarding, when and when not to help.”

Around the league — 5:45 p.m.

Here’s where things stand in other playoff series:

▪ The Heat lead the Sixers, 1-0, after winning the series opener last night.

▪ The Suns beat the Mavericks in Game 1 to take the series lead.

▪ Game 2 between the Grizzlies and the Warriors tips at 9:30 p.m. on TNT.

See it all here.

On Sunday, the Bucks did to the Celtics what the Celtics did to the Nets — 5:25 p.m.

Column by Christopher L. Gasper

That bitter taste the Celtics have in their mouths after losing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is the Bucks force-feeding them a taste of their own medicine on the parquet.

Defending NBA champion Milwaukee manacled Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in a 101-89 win in the same fashion the Celtics locked up Brooklyn stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in their first-round sweep of the Nets. The Bucks turned the tables on the NBA’s best defense, sticking to Tatum and Brown like the basketball version of a Secret Service detail, except instead of protecting them, the Bucks were protecting their basket.

They hounded the Jays, surrounded them, and confounded them. Boston’s offense, which shot just 33.3 percent, was dead on arrival.

Read the rest here.

Video: Jaylen Brown hits the court — 5:15 p.m.

NBC Sports Boston tweeted this video of Jaylen Brown putting up shots almost three hours before game time.

Marcus Smart is out — 5:00 p.m.

The Celtics announced two hours before tip that Marcus Smart would not be available on Tuesday for Game 2.

“It’s bruised,” head coach Ime Udoka said Monday. “I’d say it’s more than just pain tolerance, though. Something that’s going to be stiff. He got hit twice there and has had this in the past where he had to miss some games this year.

“And so it’s more so than just pain tolerance. There’s some tightness and some restriction with movement as well.”

Smart missed six games in January with a right quadriceps contusion. On Sunday, he also suffered what initially appeared to be a potentially serious shoulder injury during the second quarter when he rushed off the court and into the locker room with his right arm slumped at his side. But he was diagnosed with a stinger and returned to play in the second half.

This season he averaged 12.1 points, a career-high 5.9 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game and became the first guard to be named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year since Gary Payton in 1996.

Smart will likely be replaced in the starting lineup by Derrick White. Grant Williams also could be an option, but the Celtics would likely need another ball-handler on the floor considering how the Bucks applied consistent full-court pressure during Game 1.

Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang. Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.