Bucks hold off late charge from Boston for Game 3 win, take 2-1 series lead

Al Horford’s last-second tip-in that would have sent the game to overtime was waved off allowing Milwaukee to hold on for a 103-101 win over Boston in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After buckets from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday gave the Bucks a 3-point lead, Marcus Smart was sent to the free-throw line with 4.2 seconds left. He hit the first and then missed the second on purpose. The Celtics missed three chances to tie before Horford tipped it in as the horn sounded. The officials went to the replay monitor and quickly ruled the ball was still touching Horford’s fingers when the clock hit 0.0.

It did not appear the game would come down to the wire. After outscoring Boston 34-17 in the third quarter, Milwaukee had an 86-73 advantage with 9:48 left in the fourth quarter after an Antetokounmpo 3-pointer. But the Celtics closed the gap quickly and eventually took an 100-99 lead with a pair of free throws from Jaylen Brown. Antetokounmpo would eventually answer at the other end with a drive and basket before Holiday hit what proved to the game-winning bucket on the next possession.

The Bucks’ duo combined for 67 of Milwaukee’s points, including 42 from Antetokounmpo. He added 12 rebounds and 8 assists to help his team bounce back from a blowout loss in Game 2. After shooting 38% combined in the first two games, Antetokounmpo went 16 for 30 (53.3%) on Saturday to help give his team a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Brook Lopez provided Milwaukee with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Coming off the bench for the first time in the series, Bobby Portis had 9 points and 7 rebounds, while Pat Connaughton gave the Bucks 11 points.

It was a tough day for Boston star Jayson Tatum. The forward had just 10 points on 4 for 19 shooting.

Brown led the way with 27 points, including 10 from the free throw line. The Celtics doubled up the Bucks in free throw attempts (34 to 17) and hit 28 of them.

Milwaukee will look to take a 3-1 lead in Game 4 on Monday night at Fiserv Forum.