The Boston Celtics season is still alive following their game six heroics against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Now, Boston faces a do-or-die game seven on their home turf as they bid to make it to the Eastern Conference finals and keep their championship dreams alive. However, Milwaukee has won two of the three postseason games they’ve played in Boston, so nothing is guaranteed at this point.
Speaking on an episode of ESPN’s The Countdown following the May 13 game, analyst Stephen A Smith heaped pressure on the Celtics, noting how they can’t lose three games in their own backyard.
“I will say this to you, the Bucks won game one in Boston; they won game five in Boston. The Boston Celtics damn well had better not lose three games at the TD Bank Garden in the same series. That would be something. I don’t know if that’s ever happened before,” Smith said.
Milwaukee has experience winning close-out games on the road, as they defeated the Brooklyn Nets on their home turf in game seven of the second round in 2021.
Marcus Smart Heaps Praise on Jayson Tatum
Every time the Bucks made a run against the Celtics in their May 13 matchup, Jayson Tatum stepped up to kill their momentum, ending the contest with 46 points, nine rebounds, and four assists on 46.7% shooting from the deep and 53.1% from the field.
This was Tatum’s best game of the series, as he fought to keep his team’s post-season dreams alive and helped will them over the finish line. Speaking after the game, Marcus Smart heaped praise on Tatum’s performance.
“That’s why he gets paid the big bucks, that’s it right there, for moments like that. I was telling him the whole game, ‘just be you, man,’ and he was. And that’s what he gets paid to do; that’s what we lean on him to do.
We did our jobs in the first half to give him a break, and while they were doing a good job on him, we stood up and took care of him. And then he came in and did what he did and took that game over in the fourth and brought us all home,” Smart told reporters after the game.
Smart was also an instrumental component of the Celtics’ rotation in game six, as he overcame a tough ending to the team’s previous game to help his team with 21 points, seven assists, and five rebounds while shooting 50% from the field and 55.6% from deep.
Al Horford Credited Tatum for Celtics’ Win
While it’s clear the entire Celtics rotation stood up to be counted in their game six victory, Tatum’s performance clearly stood out, leading Al Horford to join the chorus of praise the All-Star wing received shortly after the final whistle.
“He took it to another level. That’s what big-time players do in moments like this. He’s a special player, and he showed it tonight. He was Poised. Knew when to shoot it, knew when to pass it, knew when to attack. We put a lot on him, and he delivered,” Horford to NBC Sport’s Boston’s Abby Chin shortly after the game.
Horford, who has been an enormous part of Boston’s rotation this season, had one of his quieter post-season games from a scoring perspective. However, throughout Boston’s win-or-go-home contest at the Fiserv Forum, he stood tall when defending Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis, finishing the game with four blocks to his name – for the record, Milwaukee managed four blocks as a unit.
Boston will now head back home as they get ready for the biggest game of their season so far on Sunday, May 15.