BOSTON — The Boston Celtics’ 2018 postseason got off to a good, albeit crazy, start Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.
Terry Rozier appeared to give the Celtics the win when he drilled a 3-pointer to give the C’s a three-point lead with 0.5 seconds remaining in the game, but Bucks guard Khris Middleton hit a buzzer-beating triple to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The C’s would prevail 113-107 in OT, though, thanks to the heroics of Al Horford (24 points, 12 rebounds) and Terry Rozier (23 points). Marcus Morris (21), Jaylen Brown (20), and Jayson Tatum (19), also tallied double figures as Boston earned a huge Game 1 win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was one of three Bucks in double digits, posting a game-high 35 points.
The Celtics now lead the series 1-0.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
The first quarter was a fairly even affair up until the final four minutes, as the Celtics pulled ahead to take a 29-17 lead into the second quarter. Boston went on an offensive tear in the final 3:56, putting together a 15-0 run to turn a three-point deficit into a 12-point advantage. During that stretch, six different Celtics registered points.
Tatum got off to a hot start, dropping a game-leading eight points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field.
After a tremendous end to the first, the Celtics quickly went quiet on offense and melted down on defense, watching their lead quickly evaporate. The Bucks took a 32-31 lead with 8:40 to go after opening the stanza on a 15-2 run. By the midway point of the quarter, Milwaukee already had outscored the Celtics 24-4.
In the final moments, however, the Celtics showed some important life, going on a 6-2 run in the final 1:37 to cut into the lead.
The Bucks went into the half ahead 47-44 after outscoring the Celtics 30-15 in the quarter. Tatum was the lone Celtic in double figures at the break, tallying 10 points.
C’S BOUNCE BACK
Boston made the ugly second period look like a thing of the past in the third, taking a 70-66 lead into the fourth after outscoring the Bucks 26-19 in the third quarter.
A 7-2 run over the first 3:03 allowed the Celtics to reclaim the lead, and from there it returned to a back-and-forth contest.
Brown and Morris each played crucial roles in the third, notching down seven points each.
After the Celtics kept the Bucks at bay for a good chunk of the fourth, Milwaukee threatened late, pulling within a pair with 2:38 to play. But timely 3-pointers from Rozier and Morris allowed the Celtics to hold on to their advantage.
With Boston’s lead cut to one with 32.4 seconds to play, Horford hit a pair of free throws to put the Celtics back up by three. After Antetokounmpo responded with two more points, Horford again hit a pair of free throws, putting the Celtics ahead 96-93 with 15.2 seconds to play.
The Bucks executed, however, with Malcolm Brogdon hitting a 3-pointer to tie things with 10.3 seconds left.
Then madness ensued.
Rozier hit a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left, presumably a game-winner. But then Middleton responded after a timeout with an insane 35-footer off the inbound to force overtime.
BOSTON CLAIMS OVERTIME
Despite a dejecting end to regulation, the Celtics showed tremendous resolve in the overtime period, and it resulted in them earning the overtime win.
Like the rest of the contest, neither side could create much separation. But the Celtics provided just enough of a push, mainly with a 7-2 run in the middle of the extra frame, to pull ahead of the hard-charging Bucks. Milwaukee had a chance to tie the game with under a minute to play, but Tatum rejected Brogdon’s attempt at the rim and the C’s close the game out at the free-throw line.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
The almost game-winner.
The two teams will meet again Tuesday night for Game 2. Tip from TD Garden is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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