BOSTON – – Bobby Portis made a delay Giannis Antetokounmpomissed a free throw in 15 seconds to go, Jrue Holiday suffocated Marcus Smart on Boston’s last two possessions, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Celtics 110-107 on Wednesday night and took a 3-2 lead.
Antetokounmpo had 40 points and 11 rebounds, Holiday finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Portis added 14 points and 15 rebounds for NBA title defender Bucks.
Milwaukee has a chance to finish the Eastern Conference semifinals in Game 6 at home on Friday night. The Celtics need a win to extort a decisive seventh game back in Boston on Sunday.
The Celtics led 14 in the fourth quarter before the Bucks narrowed the gap, tying it at 105 on Holiday’s three-pointer with 43 seconds to go. Jayson Tatumwho scored a total of 34 points, hit a pair of free throws and put Boston in the lead.
Antetokounmpo went to the line with a chance to equalize and made the first, then Portis grabbed the second jump and threw it off the bench to give Milwaukee their first lead since the start of the second quarter.
Smart drove to the basket, but Holiday blocked it and walked away with the ball, throwing it off Smart as he fell off the field. Pat Connaughton he took a couple of free throws in six seconds to go, and then Holiday stole the ball from Smart in his desperate run for a potential 3-pointer that could equalize.
The Bucks won two of three games in Boston to gain a home field advantage.
Antetokounmpo had his best shooting game in a row, 16 for 27, but he also made seven turnovers.
Jaylen Brown he scored 26 points for Boston, 16 of them in the third and 12 in the final four minutes of the quarter, when Boston turned a 71-68 advantage into a 12-point advantage.
The Bucks scored nine of the first 11 points of the game, but Boston narrowed the gap in the middle of the quarter. The Celtics escaped 11 consecutive points at the start of the second game, stolen by Marcus Smart, tossed forward towards Brown and tossed Tatum who lifted the crowd to its feet.
But the Bucks scored 17 of the next 24 points and scored 58-55 with nine minutes to third.
The Celtics were without a big man Robert Williams III for the second game in a row – and for the fourth time this postseason – due to left knee pain. He was listed as suspicious before being ruled out before the game.
Milwaukee was left without Khris Middleton, who did some field work while trying to return after a sprained left knee. He has not played since April 20 in the 2nd game of the first round series against the Bulls.
“He’s done a little bit on the field and we feel good around him and we’re optimistic,” the Bucks coach said Mike Budenholzer He said. “But it’s kind of the same update that has been the last few days.”
Guardian of Milwaukee George Hill (stomach ache) played.
Tacko Fall, a former 7-foot-tall Celtic, took the game from the front row, under the basket. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft were also at the game. … The Celtics had just two turnovers in the first half, nine for the Bucks. … Celtics traps Daniel Theis and Derrick White made their first nine shots.