Milwaukee at Boston
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – Superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to help the Milwaukee Bucks win their third straight postseason game when they visit the Boston Celtics in Tuesday’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series. The “Greek Freak” is enjoying his time in the spotlight and his reputation for being a clutch player took a rise when he tipped in the winning basket with 5.1 seconds left in Game 4 to give the Bucks a series-tying 104-102 victory.
Seventh-seeded Milwaukee dropped two games in Boston to start the series before winning the past two at home and will ride its star player as far as possible. “At the end of the day in the playoffs, we know we have the best player on the floor,” Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon told reporters of Antetokounmpo. “So we rely on him, and he comes through.” The second-seeded Celtics are without their top player in guard Kyrie Irving and are finding themselves in more of a tussle than they were hoping. “We’re battling, we’re playing hard, but it’s not good enough just to play hard,” veteran center Al Horford said after Game 4. “This is why the playoffs are so challenging. But I think it’s good for our group. I think we’re learning. We’re looking forward to being able to go back home.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE BUCKS: Backup forward Jabari Parker came up big in the back-to-back victories by averaging 16.5 points, six rebounds, two blocked shots and 1.5 steals after averaging one point and three rebounds with no blocks or steals in the first two games. His emergence was crucial as small forward Khris Middleton (25.5 points, 6.5 rebounds) had been the lone consistent compliment to Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. “We’ve been saying from the beginning that we need him,” Middleton told reporters. “He is one of the best scorers in the league and one of the best players. For him to come off the bench for us is a huge boost. We just want him to be ready and stay locked in.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Shooting guard Jaylen Brown continues to excel while picking up the scoring slack associated with Irving’s absence and he had 34 points, eight rebounds and three steals in Game 4. It was the second 30-point effort of the series for Brown, who made five 3-pointers in two of the past three games while averaging a team-best 23.8 points in the series. Point guard Terry Rozier came back to earth by averaging 9.5 points on 5-of-19 shooting in the two losses in Milwaukee after averaging 23 points over the first two games when he badly outplayed Bucks veteran Eric Bledsoe.
1. The Bucks set a franchise record with 14 blocks in Game 4, with 21-year-old backup C Thon Maker swatting away five shots for the second straight game.
2. Boston PG Marcus Smart (thumb) is eyeing a return for Game 6 if he gets cleared for contact.
3. Milwaukee C John Henson (back) is questionable after missing the past two games.