Boston Celtics hold off Milwaukee Bucks in buzzer-beating thriller

The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves will decide the final playoff spot on Wednesday

The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves will decide the final playoff spot on Wednesday

The Milwaukee Bucks were not able to capitalize on a depleted and hurting lineup of the Boston Celtics, blowing away their chance to steal Game 1 in Beantown in a 113-107 loss on Sunday.

After missing the second free throw off back rim, Antetokounmpo charged into the lane for the offensive board. Defensively and offensively he does a lot.

"It's another level, I think we all know that", Brogdon said. He has his moments because of the way we're being defended where he gets to be more of a featured scorer. "We're going to take it slow".

Numbers? OK, Antetokounmpo outscored Horford, 35-24.

Rozier added 23 points, four rebounds and three assists for Boston in his first career playoff start.

But, as we've been saying all along, Horford is far more than digits can explain. But Horford was steady again after being fouled, connecting on two more from the line with 15.2 seconds left. Middleton had 31 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

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And though Antetokounmpo went 13-for-16 from the free throw line, Horford's 13-for-14 constituted his career-high in attempts and helped the former foul out.

"We'll have to guard him with everybody on our team", he said.

In the overtime period, the Celtics would take a 106-105 lead on a free throw from Al Horford with 2:10 to play.

"I thought everybody on both sides looked a little gassed at the end of overtime".

"I knew they wouldn't hang their heads", Stevens said. "I'm glad to be in this position".

"I feel fine. I think that one of the good things throughout the year that coach and the medical staff did was they managed all of our minutes well".

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That's exactly what they wound up doing in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Sunday at TD Garden. (But) it's go time. You want to be in these kind of games and setting the tone.

"It's going well. I'm trying to stay in shape".

Added Morris, "I mean, it's the playoffs". You've got to get back into it. The score at the end of regulation would have edged the total the way it is now set by half a point, not to mention the overtime scoring. In his 11th National Basketball Association season and 10th trip to the playoffs, is this the biggest challenge that's ever been presented him?

Horford understands how this team needs to function as well as anyone, and Brad Stevens is able to use one of the most unique skill sets in the National Basketball Association to open everything up for these secondary players that still need some help.

What made the play more confusing - and irritating, from a Bucks point of view - was that referee Jason Phillips initially called the foul on Antetokounmpo while another official called a jump ball from his angle.

"Yeah", Horford said, "this is probably the biggest challenge". Smart, who has been out since March 11 recovering from a broken thumb, could return as early as the end of the series with the Bucks which would be a huge boost for the Celtics. The challenge is on the other foot, too.

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