NBA playoffs: Bucks take 3-2 series lead over Celtics; Grizzlies rout Warriors, 134-95
Bobby Portis made a putback off Giannis Antetokounmpo’s missed free throw with 15 seconds left, Jrue Holiday snuffed Marcus Smart on Boston’s final two possessions and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Celtics 110-107 on Wednesday night to take a 3-2 series 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 the defending NBA champion Bucks.
Milwaukee has a chance to wrap up the Eastern Conference semifinal in Game 6 at home Friday night. The Celtics need a win to force a decisive seventh game back in Boston on Sunday.
The Celtics led by 14 in the fourth quarter before the Bucks closed the gap, tying it at 105 on Holiday’s three-pointer with 43 seconds left. Jayson Tatum, who scored 34 points in all, hit a pair of free throws to give Boston the lead.
Antetokounmpo went to the line with a chance to tie it and made the first, then Portis grabbed the rebound of the second and put it in off the backboard to give Milwaukee its first lead since early in the second quarter.
Smart drove to the basket but Holiday blocked him and came away with the ball, throwing it off Smart while falling out of bounds. Pat Connaughton made a pair of free throws with six seconds left, then Holiday stole the ball from Smart on his desperation dash for a potential game-tying three-pointer.
The have Bucks won two of the three games in Boston to swipe home-court advantage.
Antetokounmpo had his best shooting game of the series, going 16 for 27, but he also committed seven turnovers.
Jaylen Brown scored 26 points for Boston, 16 of them in the third — and 12 of those in the last four minutes of the quarter, when Boston turned a 71-68 edge into a 12-point lead.
The Bucks scored nine of the game’s first 11 points, but Boston closed the gap midway through the quarter. The Celtics ran off 11 straight points early in the second, capped by a Smart steal, tossed ahead to Brown for an alley-oop to Tatum that brought the crowd to its feet.
But the Bucks scored 17 of the next 24 points to make it 58-55 with nine minutes left in third.
Grizzlies 134, Warriors 95
MEMPHIS — Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones each scored 21 points and the Memphis Grizzlies routed the Golden State Warriors 134-95 on Wednesday night to avoid elimination and force a sixth game in the Western Conference semifinal.
Dillon Brooks added 12 points for Memphis. Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke had 11 apiece and De’Anthony Melton 10. Steven Adams had 13 rebounds, six offensive.
The Grizzlies never trailed, turning in their best performance of this series to pull to 3-2 even with All-Star guard Ja Morant sitting out his second straight game because of a bone bruise in his right knee. They improved to 4-11 when facing elimination.
Memphis scored 77 points in the first half, the most in franchise postseason history. The Grizzlies pushed their lead to 55 in the third quarter, threatening the three biggest postseason blowouts in NBA history. Their 52-point lead after three tied for the largest in a playoff game in the past 70 years.
When Memphis fans chanted “Whoop That Trick! Whoop That Trick!” early in the fourth, Stephen Curry laughed on the court laughing while Draymond Green swung a towel in unison with the crowd.
Game 6 is Friday night in San Francisco, where the Warriors have won five straight playoff games and their last seven overall.
Klay Thompson led Golden State with 19 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 17, Curry had 14 and Damion Lee and Moses Moody each had 10.
The Warriors lost for the first time with assistant Mike Brown filling in for coach Steve Kerr, who missed his second straight game since testing positive for COVID before Game 4.
The Grizzlies got back to doing the things that helped them post the second-best record during the regular season. They outrebounded Golden State and dominated on the offensive boards. They forced plenty of turnovers and got their best production from the bench of this series.
Golden State, thanks to Poole coming off the bench, had outscored Memphis’ reserves each of the first four games. Facing elimination, the Grizzlies had a 28-8 edge through the first two quarters and finished with a 52-35 margin.
Memphis led 38-28 at the end of the first quarter and continued a 24-8 run into the second quarter to go up 53-36. They finished the second on a 20-4 run, including 14 straight, to outscore Golden State 39-22 for a 77-50 lead at halftime.
Then the Grizzlies opened the third quarter outscoring Golden State 20-6, prompting fans to start chanting “Whoop That Trick.“ Memphis just pushing, outscoring Golden State 42-17 in the third for a 119-67 lead going into the fourth.
Brown benched most of his starters by 3:44 of the third, and Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins followed to start the fourth resting up for a flight to California and Game 6.
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