Jayson Tatum outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as Boston Celtics force game seven against Bucks
Boston’s Jayson Tatum has outduelled Giannis Antetokounmpo to force Milwaukee into a Game 7 shootout in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Tatum scored 46 points to lead the Celtics to a 108-95 victory over the defending champion Bucks on Friday night.
The third-straight victory for a road team sets up a winner-take-all game on Sunday in Boston. The victor heads to Miami to begin an East finals matchup with the top-seeded Heat on Tuesday.
Boston showed their grit by bouncing back two nights after blowing a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 110-107 Game 5 home loss.
The Bucks tried to rally again after trailing by 14 points in the final period, but this time Tatum kept the Celtics on top to keep their season alive.
Antetokounmpo had 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists. His 20 rebounds were one of his career highs.
Jaylen Brown scored 22 and Marcus Smart had 21 for the Celtics, who capitalised on their superiority from 3-point range. The Celtics were 17 of 43 and the Bucks seven of 27 from beyond the arc.
Antetokounmpo tried to lead the Bucks to a second straight improbable comeback.
Boston led 84-70 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and were up 84-73 when officials ruled Grant Williams had drawn a charge for Antetokounmpo’s fifth foul.
But the Bucks challenged the call and it was overturned on replay, instead sending Antetokounmpo to the line with four fouls.
Antetokounmpo made both free throws to start an 8-0 run that got the Bucks back into the game. The Bucks trimmed the margin to 85-81 on Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer with 8:42 left.
But Tatum wouldn’t let the Bucks get any closer.
Tatum then scored the Celtics’ next 11 points, that included a fadeaway jumper as the shot clock expired to get the lead back to six plus a couple of 3-pointers.
Tatum and Brown each hit a 3-pointer during an 8-0 spurt that closed with Smart’s jumper that made it 100-87 with 4:20 remaining.
Boston maintained a double-digit edge the rest of the way.
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