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Tatum’s 46 points keeps Boston alive

by The Associated Press | May 14, 2022 at 2:32 a.m.
Boston forward Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 46 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 4 assists in the Celtics’ 108-95 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals Friday in Milwaukee. Tatum’s 46 points tied for the second-highest in team history when facing elimination. (AP/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE -- Jayson Tatum wouldn't let it happen again.

With the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks attempting to complete a fourth-quarter comeback for the second consecutive game and close out their Eastern Conference semifinal, Tatum made sure the Boston Celtics instead kept their season alive and forced a decisive seventh game.

Tatum scored 46 points and the Celtics withstood a brilliant performance from Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo to win 108-95 on Friday night, the third consecutive victory for a road team in this thrilling series.

"I wasn't going to leave anything out there and have any regrets," Tatum said. "Just trying to do what it took."

After the Bucks reduced a 14-point deficit to four with just under 9 minutes left, Tatum took over the game. He scored 16 of Boston's 26 fourth-quarter points.

"He was unbelievable," said Antetokounmpo, who was pretty extraordinary in his own right with 44 points, 20 rebounds and 6 assists.

Tatum's effort set up a winner-take-all matchup Sunday in Boston. The victor heads to Miami to begin an East finals matchup with the top-seeded Heat on Tuesday.

"I don't think anybody's won two games in a row in this series," Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Now, it's the finality. You've got to go and find a way to get that fourth win and win the series. I think everybody in sport looks for that game. That college feel. That NCAA feel, where if you lose your season's done, if you win, you keep going. It's exciting."

The Bucks had won all eight of their potential series clinchers in Budenholzer's four-year tenure before Friday. This marked the first time the Bucks had lost a possible clincher since a Game 7 defeat at Boston in a 2018 first-round series.

Boston showed its 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 in the final period, but this time the Celtics stayed in front.

"Tonight will be the first night since that game that I'll get some sleep," said Marcus Smart, who had 21 points, seven assists and no turnovers.

Jaylen Brown added 22 points for the Celtics, who capitalized on their superiority from 3-point range. The Celtics were 17 of 43 and the Bucks 7 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 was 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 three-pointer with 8:42 left.

Tatum said he was thinking about that Game 5 collapse as the Bucks started to rally. He wanted to make sure the Bucks didn't win the 50-50 balls and dominate the glass the way they did down the stretch on Wednesday.

"They were tougher than us in that fourth quarter of Game 5," Tatum said. "That was in the back of my mind. That was in the back of everybody's mind, that we couldn't get beat on those kind of plays. Our season was on the line."

Tatum wouldn't let the Bucks get any closer.

After that 8-0 Bucks spurt, Tatum 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.

"He went into another mode right there," Smart said. "We'd seen it in his eyes."

Tatum and Brown each hit a three-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.

"We had the right resolve," Celtics Coach Ime Udoka said. "We talked about it after that game. We let an opportunity slip away (Wednesday) but we still had a chance to make it a better story, I guess."

WARRIORS 110,

GRIZZLIES 96

SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson knocked down eight three-pointers on the way to 30 points, Stephen Curry scored 29 with six three-pointers, and Golden State advanced to the Western Conference finals by beating Memphis.

Curry found his shooting touch late and made two consecutive baskets late in the third for a 78-77 lead entering the final 12 minutes. Draymond Green contributed 14 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists. Kevon Looney grabbed 22 rebounds and Andrew Wiggins scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth with a pair of timely three-pointers.

Golden State — eliminated by Memphis in the play-in tournament last year — withstood a testy series to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2019, when the franchise reached its fifth consecutive NBA Finals before losing to Toronto in the deciding Game 6.

Dillon Brooks scored 30 points with a career-best seven three-pointers but picked up his second flagrant foul of the series. Desmond Bane added 25.

Curry checked back in for the final 8:21 and delivered a three-pointer with 5:45 remaining off a beautiful bounce pass by Green. Looney found Green for an easy dunk the next time down, capping a decisive 10-0 run.

After Wednesday’s 134-95 debacle on the Grizzlies’ home floor in which they trailed by as many as 55 , the Warriors were determined to do everything better, especially cutting down on the 22 turnovers leading to 29 points.

Bane scored the first two baskets of the game before the Warriors ran off 10 consecutive points, with a pair of layups by Green and a three-pointer by both Curry and Thompson.

Looney started after Jonathan Kuminga had the previous three games following the injury to guard Gary Payton II. He broke his left elbow in an awkward fall after being hit over the head by Brooks in Game 2 that earned Brooks a Flagrant 2 foul and one-game suspension.

He was booed loudly again at every chance by the sellout crowd at Chase Center. When Payton was shown on the big screen during a first-quarter timeout he received a rousing ovation and touched his hand to his heart before encouraging them to get louder.

Memphis again played without All-Star guard Ja Morant, who missed his third consecutive game with a bone bruise in his troublesome right knee that the Grizzlies blamed on Jordan Poole pulling on the knee while going for a loose ball in Game 3.

Center Steven Adams limped off gingerly on his right ankle and headed to the locker room 3:23 before halftime but returned. At the same time, Brooks received a Flagrant foul 1 for taking down Curry and the Grizzlies forward and Thompson were hit with double technicals.

At a glance

NBA PLAYOFFS

CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

FRIDAY’S GAMES

Boston 108, Milwaukee 95

Golden State 110, Memphis 96

Golden State wins series 4-2

SUNDAY’S GAMES

All times Central

Milwaukee at Boston, 2:30 p.m.

Series tied 3-3

Dallas at Phoenix, 7 p.m.

Series tied 3-3


  photo  Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots over Boston Celtics' Grant Williams and Al Horford during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee . (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo is fouled by Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee . (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo drives past Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee . (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo is fouled as he makes a shot during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee . (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks over Boston Celtics' Grant Williams during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots over Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee . (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics' Daniel Theis fouls Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series Friday, May 13, 2022, in Milwaukee . (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
 
 

Print Headline: Tatum’s 46 points keeps Boston alive

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