After taking only 10 shots in a Game 5 loss on Tuesday night, Antetokounmpo knew he had to be more aggressive and assertive in finding ways to lift his team’s offense — so that’s exactly when it mattered most late in a 97-86 victory over the Boston Celtics. The 23-year-old superstar finished with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists, carrying his team down the stretch. The visceral performance helped even up the series at 3-3 and forced a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston on Saturday night.
As evidenced throughout the series, Antetokounmpo continuously showed why he was the most talented player in the series. When the Bucks needed to find a way out of a rut, the Bucks’ phenom was there with a crucial play. Khris Middleton continued his huge series going 7-for-8 from the field and chipping in with 16 points, and Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon had 16 points of his own.
One of the key differences all night was the Bucks’ ability to get out in transition — they finished with 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting, compared to just six for the Celtics (2-of-3). And Milwaukee’s defense remained stout throughout the game, never allowing the Boston to find the kind of offensive rhythm it desired. Celtics guard Jayson Tatum finished with a team-high 22 points, but the Bucks maintained the edge down low, outscoring the Celtics 50-36 in the paint.
As the game came to a close, Bucks fans gave their team a rousing standing ovation, chanting “Bucks in 7!” as the final horn sounded in what could be the final game played at the Bradley Center. If the Bucks want to keep their current home open for a couple of more weeks, they must find a way to win at TD Garden — something they have yet to do in this series. Does Antetokounmpo have another monster night left in what has been a grueling series for both teams? The Bucks certainly believe he does as they walk into the most important game of their season knowing that the best player on the floor wears Milwaukee cream and green.