Celtics give up 3 with 0.5 sec­onds but still win in OT

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By KYLE HIGHTOWER The As­so­ci­ated Press

BOS­TON — Bos­ton coach Brad Stevens loves the post­sea­son be­cause it of­fers a chance to “bust nar­ra­tives.”

The Celtics took their first step to­ward shat­ter­ing the be­lief they can’t win with­out their big­gest stars.

Al Hor­ford had 24 points and 12 re­bounds and Bos­ton over­came Khris Mid­dle­ton’s long 3 that beat the fourth-quar­ter buzzer, top­ping the Mil­wau­kee Bucks 113-107 in over­time Sun­day to open the play­offs.

The Celtics led 99-96 with 0.5 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion when Mid­dle­ton took an in­bounds pass on the far right wing and hit a con­tested 35-footer. Bos­ton outscored Mil­wau­kee 14-8 in the ex­tra pe­riod.

Terry Rozier added 23 points, four re­bounds and three as­sists for Bos­ton in his first ca­reer play­off start. Jaylen Brown fin­ished with 20 points. Rookie Jayson Ta­tum added 19 points and 10 re­bounds.

Rozier said he knows he’s un­der a spot­light this post­sea­son with Kyrie Irv­ing out for the sea­son fol­low­ing his re­cent knee surgery.

“I just know I gotta step up,” he said. “I know I gotta fill big shoes. I don’t feel no pres­sure. I’m glad to

be in this po­si­tion.”

Game 2 in the best-of-seven se­ries is Tues­day night in Bos­ton.

Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo led the Bucks with 35 points, 13 re­bounds and seven as­sists be­fore foul­ing out in over­time. Mid­dle­ton had 31 points, eight re­bounds and six as­sists. Mal­colm Brog­don scored all 16 of his points af­ter half­time.

Af­ter a muted start, things opened for An­te­tok­oun­mpo. But he said he must do a bet­ter job on the de­fen­sive end against Hor­ford go­ing for­ward.

“Hope­fully in Game 2 I won’t play on my heels and I’ll play more on my toes and be able to de­fend with­out foul­ing,” An­te­tok­oun­mpo said.

Part of the rea­son the Bucks were in bad spots is be­cause they were ham­pered by turnovers. They com­mit­ted 20, lead­ing to 27 Bos­ton points.

An ac­ro­batic, spin­ning layup by Ta­tum gave Bos­ton a 108105 lead in over­time.

It was 108-106 when Hor­ford snared a re­bound and got it ahead to Rozier, who was fouled. He made two free throws to put the Celtics in front 110-106 with 18.8 re­main­ing.

An­te­tok­oun­mpo made one of two foul shots with 14.8 sec­onds left, but he fouled out of the game while go­ing for the re­bound on his miss.

Rozier added three free throws for the fi­nal mar­gin.

The game went to ex­tra time fol­low­ing a wild fin­ish in reg­u­la­tion that in­cluded back-to­back 3-point­ers in the clos­ing sec­onds.

Mil­wau­kee was held to just two field goals over the first seven min­utes of the fourth quar­ter as the Celtics built an 86-76 ad­van­tage.

The Bucks closed to 89-87 be­fore Mar­cus Mor­ris made a fall­ing down jumper just in­side the arc to make it 91-87. It was 92-91 with less than a minute to play when a pair of free throws by Hor­ford made it 94-91.

An­te­tok­oun­mpo got free for a dunk, but Hor­ford con­nected on two more from the line with 15.2 sec­onds left.

Out of a time­out, Brog­don got free on the wing and drained a 3 with 10.3 to play to tie it at 96.

Rozier drib­bled the clock down be­fore cross­ing over Eric Bled­soe, step­ping back and swish­ing an ap­par­ent gamewin­ner with a half-sec­ond left.

AP photo

Mil­wau­kee Bucks’ Khris Mid­dle­ton shoots a 3-point bas­ket over Bos­ton Celtics' Jaylen Brown with less than a sec­ond to play in the fourth quar­ter Sun­day. The shot sent the game into over­time but the Celtics pre­vailed 113-107

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