Need to understand what it looks like to have a game slip away? Just look at what the Boston Celtics did in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
The Celtics coughed up a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead and then couldn’t close out the Bucks in the final seconds, leading to a shocking 110-107 defeat at TD Garden.
Instead of Boston seizing control of the series, Milwaukee, who now holds a 3-2 series lead, and one win away from sending the Celtics packing. Following the loss, Celtics coach Ime Udoka understood the gravity of the situation.
“Guys are going to be pissed about the outcome,” Udoka said. “We outplayed them for three and a half quarters and so, we talked about showing our resolve. We made it tougher on ourselves now. It will make it sweeter when we bounce back, but we know we gave up a golden opportunity tonight.”
Udoka could pinpoint what exactly went wrong in the fourth quarter for the Celtics. It all came down to rebounding as Boston allowed Milwaukee to grab 17 offensive boards, including Bobby Portis securing a carom off a missed Giannis Antetokounmpo free-throw attempt and Portis putting it back in for the go-ahead basket with 11.4 seconds left.
In total, the Bucks had nine second-chance points over the final 12 minutes, according to MassLive’s Brian Robb.
“Offensive rebounds. Really. Story of the game,” Udoka said. “Especially on those specific plays where they got kick-out threes — some were long rebounds so those are a little bit tougher, but we got to find bodies obviously on those and the free throw one stands out.”
The Celtics will try to bounce back on Friday night in Game 6 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Time for that contest has yet to be scheduled.