Jayson Tatum scored 46 points, outscoring Giannis Antetokounmpo and ensuring there was not another fourth-quarter comeback for the Milwaukee Bucks, when the Boston Celtics beat the defending champions 108-95 on Saturday to force a Game 7 in their game. Eastern Conference semi-final.
The third straight victory for a visiting team sets up a winner-takes-all game Monday in Boston. The victor heads to Miami to begin an East finals matchup with the top-seeded Heat on Wednesday.
Boston showed its courage by rallying two nights after blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in a 110-107 home loss in Game 5. The Bucks tried to bounce back again after losing by 14 points in the final period, but this time Tatum kept the Celtics on top and kept their season alive.
Antetokounmpo had 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists. His 20 rebounds were one of the highest of his career.
With the battle tantalizing, Tatum and Antetokounmpo become only the fifth pair of opponents to each score more than 44 points in a playoff game.
Jaylen Brown scored 22 and Marcus Smart had 21 for the Celtics, who capitalized on their superiority from 3-point range. The Celtics were 17-for-43 and the Bucks 7-for-27 from beyond the arc.
Antetokounmpo tried to lead the Bucks to an improbable second comeback in a row.
Boston led 84-70 in the first minute of the fourth quarter and led 84-73 when referees ruled that Grant Williams had been called for Antetokounmpo’s fifth foul. But the Bucks defied the call and it was overturned on replay, sending Antetokounmpo to the line with four fouls.
Antetokounmpo made both free throws to start an 8-0 run that put the Bucks back in the game. The Bucks cut the margin to 85-81 on Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer with just under nine minutes left.
Tatum wouldn’t let the Bucks get any closer.
After that 8-0 Bucks run, Tatum scored the Celtics’ next 11 points. That included a jump shot that faded as the shot clock expired to bring the lead back to six plus a pair of 3-pointers.
Tatum and Brown each hit a 3-pointer during an 8-0 run that was capped by Smart’s jumper that made it 100-87 with four minutes remaining.
Boston held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.