Bucks vs. Celtics score, takeaways: Milwaukee holds off rally from Boston in Game 3 to take 2-1 series lead
The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics continue to trade blows. The Bucks won the first game in the series in Boston, but the Celtics bounced back and took Game 2. On Saturday, it was Milwaukee’s turn to respond, and that’s exactly what they did. Fueled by a monster performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks were able to pull out a 103-101 victory over the Celtics to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Antetokounmpo was phenomenal in the game, as he finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. It was his sixth career 40-plus point playoff performance, which is twice as many as any other player in Bucks franchise history.
The game also featured a wild ending that saw the Celtics fail to convert a pair of attempts to tie the game in the closing seconds. A successful tip from Al Horford came just after the final buzzer sounded.
In addition to the epic ending, and Antetokounmpo’s dominance, here’s a look at three other takeaways from Milwaukee’s Game 3 victory.
1. A forgettable night for Jayson Tatum
The Celtics aren’t going to win too many games when Jayson Tatum plays as poorly as he did on Saturday afternoon. In 41 minutes of action, Tatum scored just 10 points while shooting a putrid 4-for-19 from the floor and 0-for-6 from long range. Tatum just couldn’t find any sort of rhythm or consistency over the course of the contest. Of course, Milwaukee’s defense deserves a lot of credit for Tatum’s poor performance. Wes Matthews, specifically, did a great job on Tatum, who went 0-for-10 when Matthews was his primary defender.
The fact that the game was even as close as it was despite Tatum’s struggles is a testament to the rest of Boston’s roster, but moving forward they’ll need more from their All-Star forward.
2. A dominant third quarter from Milwaukee
In a game that the Bucks won by two points, the third quarter proved to be the difference. The Celtics had a four-point lead at halftime, but the Bucks came out and put on a clinic in the third quarter. Milwaukee outscored Boston 34-17 during those 12 minutes and flipped the game completely. What was a four-point Boston lead at halftime, turned into a 13-point deficit by the end of the quarter. It looked like Milwaukee was going to run away with the game after the third, but the Celtics didn’t fold. Instead, they fought all the way back and gave themselves a chance to win in the closing moments. Ultimately though they couldn’t complete the comeback. Had they performed a bit better in the third, they quite possibly could have walked away with a win.
3. Holiday continues to step up in Middleton’s absence
When it was announced that Khris Middleton would miss the entire series against Boston, the main question was who on Milwaukee was going to step up and fill the void on the offensive end. So far in this series, Jrue Holiday has tried to do just that. In Game 3, Holiday attempted 30 shots and scored 25 points. Obviously, he wasn’t his most efficient evening from the floor, but his aggression is something that the Bucks need without Middleton. Holiday has attempted at least 20 shots in all three games in the series so far, and he has scored 69 total points, providing some solid secondary scoring alongside Antetokounmpo. The Bucks will need him to continue to be aggressive and hunt his own shots.