With a 14-point lead at 10:16 in the fourth quarter of Game 5 on Wednesday, this was the Celtics’ game to lose.
That’s what they did.
Milwaukee outscored Boston 11-2 in the final 1:40 to win, 110-107.
Boston took the lead with 10:24 left to play in the second quarter, and didn’t relinquish it … until there were 37 seconds to play in the fourth, when a Jrue Holiday 3-pointer tied it up at 105-105. The mood in TD Garden immediately shifted.
From there, the Bucks and Celtics traded free throws. Boston’s best look came on an inbounds play with 8.1 to play. But Holiday managed to block a Marcus Smart driving layup, and it was game over from there.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a Herculean 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 34 points on 12-of-29 shooting. Jaylen Brown added 26 on 9-of-19 shooting.
Game 6 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series is on Friday in Milwaukee. Game 7 — if it happens — will shift back to Boston on Sunday.
Smart explains what went wrong on the final play — 10:30 p.m.
Here’s what he had to say:
“The play was actually, [Jayson Tatum] was supposed to come to get it but everybody was just standing around and we had no timeouts and there was a 5 second count on the way, so I just got open and tried to make a play. Jrue did a good job of helping.”
Smart: ‘We don’t have time to worry about how we lost’ — 10:22 p.m.
In his postgame press conference, Marcus Smart spoke at length about how the Celtics can reset before Game 6 on Friday.
“We don’t have time to worry about how we lost,” he said.
“It definitely hurts, but we don’t have time to feel it. We have to go onto the next one.”
Udoka: ‘We outplayed them for three-and-a-half quarters’ — 10:15 p.m.
After the game, Celtics coach said players would be pretty upset about the outcome.
“Guys are going to be pissed about the outcome,” he said after the game. “We outplayed them for three-and-a-half quarters.
“We talked about showing our resolve. We made it tougher on ourselves now, but it’ll make it sweeter when we bounce back.”
Shaughnessy: Can you believe they’re on the brink? — 10:05 p.m.
Column by Dan Shaughnessy
So here we are.
The Celtics are on the brink of elimination.
Two nights after their pulsating, near-perfect, come-from-behind final quarter in Milwaukee, the Celts came home and blew Game 5, 110-107, to the defending world champion Bucks.
Game 6 and is Friday night in Milwaukee and the Celtics need a road win to force a Sunday Game 7 showdown on Causeway Street.
The Celts and their fans were hoping Boston’s scintillating fourth quarter in Milwaukee Monday would carry into Game 5, but it seemed too much to ask. There was almost no spill over in Games 2, 3, and 4.
The Celts were seeking to avoid what happened to their ice brothers Tuesday in Raleigh, N.C., when the Bruins lost Game 5 to the Hurricanes. The notion of both Boston winter teams on the brink of elimination seemed too grim for words. Especially with the way the local baseball season is going and the way the Patriots are trending.
Adam Himmelsbach’s observations — 9:55 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
The Celtics took a 93-79 lead on a Payton Pritchard fadeaway in the lane with 10:16 left. The Garden was buzzing and the Bucks appeared on the edge of folding, but they bounced back instead, using a 20-8 run to pull within 101-99 on a Holiday 19-footer with 4:09 left.
The Celtics punched back, as Jaylen Brown missed a jumper and Al Horford, the star of Game 4, soared into the lane and threw down a powerful two-handed dunk to stretch the lead back to 105-99.
But Milwaukee caused problems with its offensive rebounding throughout the night, and Antetokounmpo converted a second-chance 3-pointer with 1:40 left, and after a Tatum miss, Holiday hit one from the top of the key to tie the score at 105 with 43 seconds to play.
The Celtics attacked quickly to get a two-for-one chance, with Tatum drawing a foul and hitting both free throws. Antetokounpo was fouled on the other end and he hit the first free throw but missed the second. But Bobby Portis grabbed the offensive rebound and converted the putback with 11.4 seconds to play.
After a timeout, Marcus Smart drove along the right baseline but Holiday swallowed up the ball and it went out of bounds off of Smart. The Celtics fouled Pat Connaughton with 5.9 seconds left. He hit both free throws and the Celtics were out of timeouts, so they had to go the distance. The Bucks applied full-court pressure and Holiday swooped in for the steal, and time ran out.
Celtics lose, 110-107 — 9:38 p.m.
What a collapse.
Hometown boy Pat Connaughton sinks two — 9:38 p.m.
Celtics turn the ball over — 9:35 p.m.
That’s a tough, tough break for Boston.
Derrick White inbounded the ball to Marcus Smart, who tried to put a shot up before Jrue Holiday made the stop.
Bucks lead — 9:33 p.m.
Bobby Portis grabbed the rebound off a missed Giannis free throw and it tumbled in.
Bucks 108, Celtics 107, 11.4 to play.
Celtics up 107-105 — 9:32 p.m.
There are 14.2 seconds to play.
Tatum draws the foul — 9:30 p.m.
He shoots two, and makes them both, and the Celtics are up 107-105 with 31.1 to play.
It’s all tied up with under a minute — 9:26 p.m.
105-105 with 37 seconds to play. It’s crunch time.
The Celtics just got very lucky — 9:26 p.m.
Bobby Portis misses a layup — twice! — that would have put the Bucks within 1.
TD Garden is shaking as Horford slams it in — 9:23 p.m.
You can’t hear yourself think after Al Horford catches a lob and slams it in.
Celtics 105, Bucks 99. 1:55 to play.
Al Horford reminding everyone that Game 4 happened. Sheesh.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) May 12, 2022
Giannis gets called for the offensive foul — 9:20 p.m.
That’s big for Boston, which is now up 103-99 with 3:31 to play.
The Bucks are only down 2 — 9:18 p.m.
The crowd is getting loud for Boston, who have seen the lead dwindle.
Giannis made a big-time block of Al Horford under the hoop.
It’s 101-99 Celtics, with 3:47 to play.
Bucks get within 4 with 5:35 to play — 9:15 p.m.
This is Boston’s game to lose.
A big block by Horford — 9:14 p.m.
Al Horford denied Giannis big-time.
That was just an incredible defensive possession by the Celtics. The Bucks had the advantage 3 times, Cs caught up and Horford wiped away Giannis.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) May 12, 2022
Brown draws the foul on Bobby Portis — 9:13 p.m.
The Celtics have been in bonus since 8:01 in the fourth. There’s 6:48 to play now.
Inside the Bucks’ strategy — 9:08 p.m.
Scoring update: 7:55, Q4 — 9:07 p.m.
Celtics 98, Bucks 87.
Celtics have their biggest lead of the night — 9:01 p.m.
Boston is up, 93-79. They’ve committed just six turnovers tonight (for only eight points) compared to 11 by the Bucks (for 13 points).
The crowd loves a Pritchard fadeaway — 9:00 p.m.
Tatum dished the ball to Payton Pritchard, who launched an easy jumper for his first points of the night.
The Celtics are up, 93-79, with 10:08 to play in the fourth.
What we’re watching entering the fourth quarter — 8:55 p.m.
Is Giannis going to play all 12 minutes? Budenholzer has been meticulously watching his star’s minutes in Game 5.
Will Giannis and Holiday get a single ounce of help? The Bucks have just 13 points off the bench.
Stat check — 8:53 p.m.
Jaylen Brown: 25 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds, 3-for-7 from three
Jayson Tatum: 22 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds, 2-for-11 from three
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 2 assists, 8 rebounds. 13-for-21 from the field
Jrue Holiday: 16 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds
End of third quarter: Celtics 86, Bucks 77 — 8:51 p.m.
A mammoth three-point shot from Brown with 41.5 seconds left put the Celtics up by nine.
Celtics have four players in double figures — 8:50 p.m.
Tatum and Brown both have 22, Smart has 15, and Theis has 11.
The crowd gets loud for a Giannis free throw — 8:49 p.m.
Giannis is 5-for-8 from the line tonight.
Giannis is back in, and so is Horford — 8:46 p.m.
It’s pretty clear that Ime Udoka wants Al Horford to stay glued to Antetokounmpo. And Budenholzer can’t afford for his start to get as gassed as he was at the end of Game 4. Giannis has played 27 minutes tonight.
Marcus Smart (and the crowd) not happy, and the Bucks are in bonus — 8:42 p.m.
Marcus Smart was called for a shooting foul on Bobby Portis, and when the replay aired on the big screen the crowd was not happy. Smart clearly wasn’t, either, and took his case to the refs. They were unconvinced.
The Bucks will be in the bonus for the final 4:07 of the third quarter.
Scoring update: 5:00, Q3 — 8:36 p.m.
After Marcus Smart hit yet another 3, the Celtics are up 69-63 with 4:56 to play in the third.
Mike Budenholzer called a timeout after the play.
This 6-point lead is the Celtics’ largest since 9:51 of the third quarter.
Tatum won’t stop complaining — 8:31 p.m.
Tatum once again cannot help himself from complaining about the officiating.
Tatum just gets a layup but is complaining to the ref on his way back, he never gets matched up with Matthews and Holiday hits him for the three.— Mo Dakhil (@MoDakhil_NBA) May 12, 2022
Tatum cannot get wrapped up with the refs. It is really becoming a troubling trait with him. pic.twitter.com/vGhvg56y5X
Giannis, Holiday shouldering the load for Milwaukee — 8:30 p.m.
With 9:16 remaining in the third quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday are the only Bucks with double-digit points. With Khris Middleton sidelined, the other Bucks need to step up, especially to give Antetokounmpo a rest down the stretch.
Scoring update: 9:16, Q3 — 8:27 p.m.
The Bucks are closing in on the Celtics’ lead. Boston is still up, 58-55, but Milwaukee has scored eight points in the first three minutes of this quarter compared to four by the Celtics.
A Jaylen Brown put-back opens scoring in the third — 8:23 p.m.
The Celtics are up, 56-47.
Daniel Theis is showing up — 8:17 p.m.
Daniel Theis has nine minutes so far, and is 4-for-4 from the field to go with his nine points.
The Celtics need all they can get from the bench, and so far, the bench is delivering with 18 points.
UPDATE: That White bucket is no good — 8:11 p.m.
Upon further review, Derrick White’s lay-up at the buzzer did not count.
It’s Celtics 54, Bucks 47 at the half.
Three key stats that bode well for the Celtics — 8:10 p.m.
- The Bucks have 0 fast-break points in the first half.
- The Celtics only have two turnovers.
- Meanwhile, the Bucks have nine turnovers, that have turned into 11 points for the Celtics.
Halftime scoring leaders — 8:07 p.m.
Jayson Tatum: 16 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds. 2-of-10 from 3.
Jaylen Brown: 9 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds. 1-of-4 from 3.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 19 points, 2 assists, 7 rebounds. 0-of-2 from 3.
Watch: Celtics finish the second quarter on a high note — 8:05 p.m.
The Celtics lead the Bucks, 56-47, at the half.
Marcus Smart lobbed a pass across mid-court to Derrick White, who was ready to lay it in as the buzzer sounded.
Scoring update: 2:00, Q2 — 8:01 p.m.
Celtics 54, Bucks 42.
It’s a jump ball after the ball gets stuck in the rim.
The loudest TD Garden has been all postseason — 7:57 p.m.
After Giannis Antetokounmpo turned the ball over on a three-second violation, the TD Garden crowd reached its highest sound levels of the postseason. The loud cheers returned when Jayson Tatum slammed home an alley-oop dunk. With the Celtics building a double-digit lead, 51-38, fans are certainly pumped up.
Watch: Smart ➡️ Brown ➡️ Tatum — 7:55 p.m.
Marcus Smart dished a steal to Jaylen Brown, who then fed it to Jayson Tatum for the alley-oop dunk, and the Celtics are up by 13 — their biggest lead of the night. The TD Garden crowd can’t get enough of it.
Ime Udoka’s approach to subs — 7:54 p.m.
Ime Udoka is being strategic with his subs. The two times Daniel Theis has checked into the game coincided with when Giannis Antetokounmpo has checked out of the game. Once Antetokounmpo returns, so does Al Horford.
Scoring update: 6:00, Q2 — 7:50 p.m.
Celtics 42, Bucks 38.
Tatum leads the Celtics with 14 points; Giannis with 12 for Milwaukee.
M-V-P chants ring out for Tatum — 7:49 p.m.
Tatum, who finished sixth in MVP voting, is serenaded by Celtics fans as he takes the line to shoot a couple free throws.
That’s seven straight for Derrick White — 7:48 p.m.
Derrick White is once again proving his value, scoring 7 straight points for the Celtics. White played big minutes, including all 12 in the fourth quarter, in Boston’s Game 4 win.
Grant likes what he sees from Pritchard — 7:43 p.m.
Grant Williams was fired up for Payton Pritchard after Pritchard held his ground against the much bigger Bobby Portis. Williams whipped his towel from the bench after Portis was unable to take advantage of the mismatch.
Boston takes a 5-point lead — 7:41 p.m.
The Garden is electric — so, so loud — as Boston takes its biggest lead of the game. It’s 37-32 Celtics, with 8:25 left to play in the second quarter.
Tatum already has 12 points.
This bodes well for the Celtics — 7:37 p.m.
Even though the Celtics finished the first quarter trailing by 2, there is one big positive in the box score: 0 turnovers.
Marcus Smart still hobbled — 7:35 p.m.
The right quad contusion that sidelined Marcus Smart for Game 2 is something that still occasionally bothers him. After making a great defensive play, poking the ball away from center Brook Lopez, Smart grimaced as he fell to the ground. He limped briefly but made it down the court and stayed in the game.
End of first quarter: Bucks 28, Celtics 26 — 7:33 p.m.
Daniel Theis (!) leads the Celtics with six points.
It’s a quiet day so far for Giannis, who has 4.
Milwaukee led by 7 at one point, but the Celtics are now within 2.
Wyc wants them to get loud — 7:31 p.m.
After a Jayson Tatum steal led to a Marcus Smart layup, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck got on his feet and motioned for the TD Garden crowd to get louder. But a Pat Connaughton three quickly quieted the fans back down.
The crowd hates the call on Theis — 7:30 p.m.
Boos are raining down on the referees after they called Daniel Theis for a foul on Jrue Holiday.
Holiday sunk both free throws. It’s Bucks 26, Celtics 22. 1:41 to play in the first.
Scoring update: 2:50, 1Q — 7:28 p.m.
Celtics 20, Bucks 19.
Bucks are off to a much better start from behind the arc — 7:26 p.m.
After shooting 26.5 percent from three in Game 4, the Bucks are off to a much better start, shooting 3 of 7 from behind the arc. Milwaukee is going to need its role players to knock down shots in order to reduce the burden on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who looked gassed by the end of Game 4.
Big cheers for Bob Kraft — 7:24 p.m.
The fans here at TD Garden were excited to see Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the big screen.
Tacko Fall is here — 7:19 p.m.
Tatum already getting into it with the refs — 7:15 p.m.
Scoring update: 7:00, Q1 — 7:13 p.m.
Bucks 11, Celtics 10.
Jaylen Brown has five of the Celtics’ 10 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo has 2.
No love for Grayson Allen — 7:12 p.m.
Celtics fans are chanting words our bosses won’t let us publish on Globe.com about Grayson Allen.
Jayson Tatum is already off to a better start than Monday — 7:09 p.m.
Tatum is 1-for-2 from three with three minutes off the clock.
He started Monday’s game 1-for-6 from three, so this is an obvious improvement.
Al Horford gets the Celtics on the board — 7:08 p.m.
Raucous cheers echoed out for the first Celtics bucket of the game — a baseline jumper from Al Horford.
It’s time for tipoff — 7:07 p.m.
The Bucks got the tip and scored early. 3-0, Milwaukee.
A lot of noise for Al Horford — 7:05 p.m.
There was no louder cheer than the one for Al Horford during player introductions ahead of Game 5.
The hero of Game 4, Horford had 30 points and eight assists on Monday. But his true value was in the way he went head-to-head with Giannis.
Can we expect more of the same tonight?
“With adrenaline, you feel great,” the 35-year-old Horford said on Monday about his physical energy. “I feel fine. Can’t wait to go home, rest up, and be back in Boston.”
The boos rain down on the Bucks — 7:02 p.m.
The boos rained down on the Bucks as they were announced ahead of tipoff.
The Bucks starting lineup is: Wesley Matthews, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen, Jrue Holiday.
Derrick White finding a rhythm — 7:00 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
After making just 1 of 11 3-pointers in Boston’s opening-round win over the Nets, guard Derrick White has found a bit of a rhythm beyond the arc in this series. White, who was acquired from the Spurs in February, entered Wednesday shooting 5 for 13 (41.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
“Everybody likes when the ball goes through the net,” White said. “I just try to stay confident. The coaching staff and my teammates have done a great job picking me up when I’ve had a bad game. That’s the great thing about this team. When somebody has a bad game, somebody else is going to step up and pick them up. I just try to go out there and do whatever it takes to help us win. It’s always good to make shots.”
Predictions? — 6:55 p.m.
What do you think will happen in Game 5? Tell us in the comments.
Starting lineups — 6:50 p.m.
Celtics: Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart.
Bucks: Wesley Matthews, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen, Jrue Holiday.
For the third consecutive game, Allen is starting over Bobby Portis for Milwaukee.
Jayson Tatum finishes sixth in MVP voting — 6:35 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum finished sixth in the voting for NBA MVP, the league announced Wednesday night.
Tatum received eight fourth-place votes and 19 fifth-place votes from the 100-member media panel, giving him 43 total points. He finished behind Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (875 points), 76ers center Joel Embiid (706), Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (595), Suns guard Devin Booker (216) and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (146).
This season Tatum averaged 26.9 points, 8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, helping the Celtics secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Series schedule update — 6:20 p.m.
As you already know, this series will go at least six games. After tonight, the Celtics head back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Friday.
If necessary, Game 7 will be at TD Garden on Sunday.
Grant Williams starting in place of Robert Williams — 6:05 p.m.
Grant Williams will start in place of Robert Williams for the second consecutive game. Backup big man Daniel Theis struggled in 11 minutes of action in Game 4, and Udoka ultimately leaned on smaller lineups in the second half as Boston clawed back from a double-digit deficit.
What Ime Udoka said about Robert Williams missing a second-straight game — 6:00 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
Robert Williams missed nearly a month after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus on March 30 and returned for Game 3 of Boston’s opening-round playoff series against the Nets. But he had a flare-up prior to Game 4 of these semifinals in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Udoka was optimistic then that he would be able to return on Wednesday, but the fourth-year big man continues to experience some pain.
“He’s going through some general soreness,” Udoka said. “The swelling went down and that’s why we were hopeful for tonight with the swelling getting better over the last two days. But he still has some soreness and just going to be overly cautious, obviously, coming off of surgery until it’s pain-free. Rest until he’s ready.”
Williams averaged 10 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game this year and emerged as a potential All-Defensive team selection. His playing time has been limited during these playoffs, however, and he is averaging 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
Udoka said this recent setback is not unexpected.
“When you increase your minutes, at some point, you’ll have some soreness or possibly flare-up,” Udoka said. “I think the three days off in between [Games 2 and 3] he had soreness after certain games, but you get that extra rest time. Now, with every other night, we’ll be more conscious if he has any kind of pain or swelling.”
Eastern Conference Finals dates set — 5:50 p.m.
If the Celtics-Bucks, Sixers-Heat, and Suns-Mavericks all finish in six games or fewer, the Eastern Conference Finals will begin on Sunday, May 15, and Game 2 would be on Tuesday.
If any one of those series go to seven games, the Finals won’t begin until Tuesday, May 17, and Game 2 would be on Thursday.
The series will continue with Game 3, regardless of when the series starts, on Saturday, May 21.
Here’s the full schedule:
Game 1: May 15/May 17
Game 2: May 17/May 19
Game 3: May 21
Game 4: May 23
Game 5: May 25
Game 6: May 27
Game 7: May 29
Derrick White is a big reason why the Celtics are going toe to toe with the Bucks — 5:40 p.m.
By Nicole Yang
When the Celtics acquired guard Derrick White at the trade deadline in February, coach Ime Udoka said he checked a lot of boxes.
Three months later, with the Celtics facing the defending champions in the second round of the playoffs, Udoka has continued to use the same refrain: The beauty of White is that he checks a lot of boxes.
After a quiet first-round series against Brooklyn, White’s versatility and value have become difficult to ignore against the Bucks. In Game 2, he started in place of Marcus Smart, who was sidelined with a right quadriceps contusion. In Monday night’s Game 4, Udoka kept White on the court as part of the closing lineup in a critical fourth quarter.
Game 4 proved to be White’s best game of the postseason. He played 34 minutes, by far his highest total of the playoffs, picking up extra time with Jaylen Brown in foul trouble. White finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 0 turnovers.
Inside the Al Horford-Giannis Antetokounmpo showdown — 5:30 p.m.
By Gary Washburn
When Al Horford was gone from the Celtics, playing with the rival Philadelphia 76ers, former Celtics coach Brad Stevens’s best option in defending Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was former second-round pick Semi Ojeleye.
Ojeleye was a physical defender, with enough bulk, built by his legendary postgame weight room sessions, to withstand the physical contact created by Antetokounmpo’s punishing post moves.
Now that Horford has returned, the Celtics have a veteran who can provide better resistance, which, at times, can be effective against the two-time MVP. Celtics coach Ime Udoka, like all of the 28 other NBA coaches, is resigned to the fact Antetokounmpo is going to score on any defense, whether he drives through a defender, around a defender, or past a defender.
Horford is big enough to challenge Antetokounmpo’s shot and physical enough to prevent getting bullied by his drives.
Robert Williams is out for Game 5 — 5:19 p.m.
Boston will be without Robert Williams due to soreness in his left knee, coach Ime Udoka said before the game. Williams missed Game 4 — a Celtics win in Milwaukee — for the same reason.
Udoka said Williiams’s swelling is down, but that he is still feeling discomfort. Udoka also said the team is being “extra cautious” because Williams is coming off surgery to repair a torn meniscus.