Celtics fall to Bucks in Game 3 after frenetic final seconds

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Al Horford’s shot to equalize was too late, giving the Bucks a 2-1 lead.

Celtics Bucks Game 3

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo tries to get past Boston Celtics’ Al Horford during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA Eastern Conference basketball semifinals playoff series. AP Photo/Morry Gash

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 42 points to make the lead with 44.3 seconds left as the Milwaukee Bucks withstood a frenetic flurry of shots in the closing seconds to defeat the Boston Celtics 103–101 on Saturday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The defending champion Bucks led the best-of-7 series 2-1, with Game 4 on Monday-evening in Milwaukee.

Boston trailed 103-100 when Marcus Smart fouled Jrue Holiday just before attempting a potential equalizing goal with 4.6 seconds left. Smart made the first free throw, then intentionally missed the second – threw it to the rim.

Then it got wild.

Smart got the rebound but missed his putback attempt. Boston’s Robert Williams got that rebound but also missed. Boston’s Al Horford was just to the right of the basket when he took advantage of his putback opportunity, but the shot came just after the buzzer sounded. Replays confirmed Horford didn’t beat the clock.

Antetokounmpo also had 12 rebounds and eight assists. His floating finger roll helped the Bucks pull back after a 14-point lead.

After trailing 13 with less than 10 minutes to go, the Celtics took the lead 100-99 and took their first lead since the start of their third quarter off Jaylen Brown’s two free throws with 1:49 to go.

Both teams failed to score on their next possession before Antetokounmpo put the Bucks ahead again. Antetokounmpo then blocked Brown’s driving layup attempt, leading to Holiday’s basket making it 103-100 with 11.2 seconds left.

Holiday had 25 points.

Brown led the Celtics with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Horford had 22 points and 16 rebounds.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Robert Williams went into the locker room in the third quarter after being elbowed in the face by Bobby Portis of Milwaukee when they got caught under the basket while chasing the ball. Williams later returned in the third. … Reserve forward Sam Hauser, who had played two minutes in each of the first two games of the series, was unavailable on Saturday due to an injured right shoulder. Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Hauser fell during practice. “He’ll be fine in the long run,” Udoka said. “It’s just something where he could be for a few weeks based on that.”

Bucks: Reserve guard George Hill played for the first time this postseason after recovering from a strained abdominal muscle. … Grayson Allen made his first playoff start of his career on Saturday as part of a lineup change after the Bucks recorded their lowest point total of the season in a 109-86 Game 2 loss. Portis moved to a bankroll.

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