With their season on the line, the Boston Celtics found a way to overcome the Milwaukee Bucks in their do-or-die game six matchups on May 13.
Jayson Tatum rose to the occasion, leading the Celtics to victory on the back of his 46 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. The All-Star wing provided his team with an incredibly efficient performance, shooting 53.1% from the field and 46.7% from deep as he torched Milwaukee’s defensive coverages repeatedly.
“He was unbelievable; he was knocking down shots, tough shots, getting to his spots. We’ve got to give him credit. He led his team to a win, as I said, made a lot of tough shots. I think that as a team, we were doing a good job staying in front of him, making him take contested threes and contested two’s, but he made it. You’ve got to respect that. He was unbelievable,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said of Tatum following the game.
Giannis was also a force to be reckoned with in game six, as he finished the contest with 44 points, 20 rebounds, and six assists. However, it was clear Boston’s plan was to focus on shutting down Milwaukee’s role players and allowing Giannis to have his way because no matter what, he couldn’t beat the Celtics on his own.
Mike Budenholzer Credits Tatum Following Celtics Win
Milwaukee started the May 13 contest one win away from making the conference finals and was hoping to take care of business in front of their home crowd. Unfortunately, Tatum and the Celtics had different ideas, and now the Bucks will be heading back to Boston for game seven at the TD Garden.
Despite his team’s loss, Milwaukee Head Coach Mike Budenholzer was full of praise for how the Celtics approached such a pivotal game in their season and how Tatum rose to the occasion despite being subdued for the majority of the series.
“Seven free throws is not terrible for a player that has the ball as much as him. We’ve just got to keep contesting, guard screens better, and do everything on him a little bit better. Credit to him, he had a heck of a night,” Budenhozler told reporters following his team’s loss.
Milwaukee will face a do-or-die game away from home for the second straight season in the second round of the playoffs. Last year, the Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets on their home floor to progress to the Eastern Conference finals, but the Celtics will be doing everything in their power to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself on Sunday, May 15.
Tatum Backs Marcus Smart After Solid Game Six
In the final minute of the Celtics game five loss to the Bucks, Marcus Smart made a couple of high-profile errors that opened the door for Milwaukee to win the game. Yet, in game six, Smart was at his best, scoring and distributing the ball on offense while also providing some stellar perimeter defense to help his team build a sustainable lead.
To end the game, Smart had 21 points, five rebounds, and seven assists on 50% shooting from the field and 55.6% shooting from the perimeter. Speaking after the game, Tatum threw his support behind the Defensive Player of the Year.
“That was to be expected; we got all the confidence in the world in Smart. We knew that he was going to come back and be the player we needed him to be on the road in game six. And he stepped up. He was big for us tonight, especially in the beginning of the game, making all the right plays,” Tatum told the media in his post-game press conference.
Both teams will be under enormous pressure to perform in game seven on Sunday, May 15, but if Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart can all find top gear, the Celtics have an excellent chance of progressing and setting up a conference finals showdown with the Miami Heat.