Milwaukee will have to win for a third time at TD Garden this postseason if it wants to keep its season going. That’s after Boston came into Fiserv Forum on Friday night and beat the Bucks 108-95 to win Game 6 and tie the Eastern Conference semifinals 3-3.
Boston, coming off an epic collapse in Game 5, took a lead late in the first quarter and didn’t trail again. The Celtics hit 8 3-pointers in the opening period and 11 in the first half on their way to owning a 10-point lead at the break. It was more of the same in the second, as Boston finished with 17 3-pointers.
Much of that damage was done by Jayson Tatum. He ended up with a game-high 46 points and was at his best in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee closed within 4 points twice and to within 5 once over the final 8:42 of the game. Each time they did, Tatum hit shots on the next possession, including a pair of 3-pointers, to push the lead back out. He scored 11 straight at one point when the Bucks were desperately trying to make the run they did two nights earlier.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did all he could in dropping 44 points, his third 40-plus point game of the series. He shot just 14 for 30, but did go 14 for 15 from the free throw line. The two-time MVP also added 20 rebounds and 6 assists.
Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday combined for 33 of Milwaukee’s 46 first-half points. While Antetokounmpo kept it going, Holiday was limited to just 5 points in the second half. The only other player in double digits for the Bucks was Pat Connaughton, who had 14 points.
As has been the case in Milwaukee’s losses in the series, the shooting from beyond the arc was not where it needed to be. The Bucks went 7 for 29 from deep and are now shooting only 25.7% from there in games Boston has won. In Milwaukee’s three wins, it is shooting a not-great-but-better 35.1%.
The loss now forces Milwaukee into the same situation it faced a year ago against Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference semifinals: Needing to go on the road Sunday and win a Game 7 to extend its season.