The Boston Celtics had trouble collecting defensive rebounds throughout Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks, and one missed board by the Celtics proved to outweigh all the others.
Leading by a single point in the waning seconds of the contest, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a game-tying free throw, and what started out as a good result turned into a calamitous situation for Boston.
It looked like Marcus Smart was going to grab the rebound, but Smart collided with Jaylen Brown and the ball popped right up to Bucks forward Bobby Portis. Portis then scored off the put-back for the go-ahead basket with 11.4 seconds left as the Bucks went on to stun the Celtics, 110-107, at TD Garden.
Smart explained what led to that crucial play in which the Celtics, who allowed the Bucks to control 17 offensive caroms, couldn’t secure the all-important rebound.
“Two guys going after the ball, and oh well, it just happens,” Smart said. “It was out of our control. … JB and I run into each other and Portis is in the right spot at the right time and it lands in his lap and he just lays it up. It happens. But we shouldn’t even be in that situation to where even if he lays it up off of that to make it a game. It just fell apart execution-wise down the stretch and it hurt us.”
Brown also gave his perspective on what occurred in the monumental play.
“That’s been the story on free throws,” Brown said. “We figured it was going to be a miss. We crashed and it just fell between me and Smart, I guess. Unfortunate bounce and just a super unlucky play.”
The Celtics will look to bounce back with their season on the line in Game 6 on Friday at Fiserv Forum. Tip off time is still to be determined.