Celtics sur­vive wild fin­ish, hold off Bucks

NBA PLAYOFFS: CELTICS 113, BUCKS 107 (OT)

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - SPORTS -

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-of­seven 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.

“He knows what he’s do­ing down there,” An­te­tok­oun­mpo said. “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.”

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.

“That’s not get­ting shot up,” Mid­dle­ton said. “We feel like if we get a shot up, we’ll be good.”

Michael Dwyer / As­so­ci­ated Press

Al Hor­ford dunks dur­ing the fourth quar­ter on Sun­day against Mil­wau­kee.

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