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NBA

Celtics win legendary duel against Giannis’ Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 44 points, and wasn’t even the top-scorer as his Milwaukee Bucks lost to Jayson Tatum’s Boston Celtics.

Update:
May 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) during the third quarter during game six of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff HanischUSA TODAY Sports

This is how championship rings are won - or at how to put yourself in a position to win them. After six tremendous battles, four wins on the road and no team having won two games in a row, the Celtics and Bucks will settle everything in the seventh. The C’s somehow managed to survive an epic performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo at Fiserv Forum on Friday night. Jayson Tatum scored 46 points, 28 of them in a stunning second half display, to carry his side to a 108-95 win, tying the series at 3-3 and forcing a seventh game in Boston.

Antetokounmpo knew that this was his night and put in an extraordinary display. He became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal over 20 years ago to eclipse a playoff stat-line of 40 points and 20 rebounds, finishing with 44 points on 14-of-30 shooting, going 14-of-15 from the free throw line and an even 20 boards. He also added six assists, two blocks and one steal.

Titanic Tatum

But Tatum was matching him every step of the way on the offensive end, shooting 17-of-32 from the field and seven-of-15 from long range, with nine rebounds and four assists to go with his 46 in almost 44 minutes out on court.

It was a game that the Celtics controlled from the second quarter, restricting the Bucks to 17 points in the frame to grab a 10-point half-time lead, and although the home side made runs, Boston had all the answers. The Bucks were a one-man show, but the Celtics had a number of solid contributors as Jaylen Brown shot seven-of-16 from the field and four-of-seven from deep for his 22 points, while Marcus Smart shot eight-of-16 and five-of-nine from beyond the arc for his 21. Between them, Tatum, Brown and Smart contributed 89 of Boston’s 108 points.

Al Horford finished with just two points, but had a game-high four blocks and a team-high 10 rebounds as he made Antetokounmpo battle all day inside, while Derrick White also chipped in with 30 important minutes off the bench, complimenting the stars perfectly. Jrue Holiday and Pat Connaughton were the only other Bucks to score more than six points as Milwaukee shot 40 per cent from the field and 24 per cent from three (seven-of-29).

Jaylen Brown told reporters afterwards, “It was a big-time performance. Our backs were against the wall. I loved to see JC come out aggressive and carry us offensively. It was definitely a signature game for the Celtics, and for Jayson. We wanted to come into the game with the right mindset - Smart had a big-time performance, played great for us and we found out a way to win the game down the stretch. Give creit to Milwaukee, they’re tough. They execute their gameplan defensively and try to make it tough for us. When we are driving and being aggressive, you know someone’s always coming from behind you”.

The series heads back to TD Garden for the seventh and decisive game on Sunday.

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