Red Sox

Bucks hot on the Celtics heals

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Bucks hot on the Celtics heals

MILWAUKEE Fear the Deer is more than just an antiquated catch-phrase that once upon a time was applicable to the Milwaukee Bucks.

It is real right now!

No team in the Eastern Conference is playing better basketball than the Bucks, who come into tonight's game against Boston riding a six-game winning streak.

Milwaukee (21-24) has risen from an injury-riddled club bound for the NBA lottery, to one that's entrenched in the playoff race with the likes of the Celtics (24-21) just a couple games ahead of them.

The Bucks are currently in ninth place in the East after a 4-9 start to the season.

"They've played well, they're playing together and they're making shots," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "They're just cranking; they're playing well."

In the midst of their recent run, the Bucks added high-scoring guard Monta Ellis via a trade with Golden State, giving Milwaukee a lethal backcourt scoring tandem with Ellis (21.6 points per game) paired with Brandon Jennings who has been the Bucks' top scorer this season with 18.8 points per game.

"Monta's a great scorer," said Jennings, who added that the trade did come as a surprise. "I'm happy to have him. He can take a lot of pressure off me and a lot of other players out here."br>
Bucks coach Scott Skiles acknowledged that there were discussion about whether to pursue the trade when at the time, Milwaukee was riding a then-four game winning streak.

"You can't make every trade based on what's happening now," Skiles said. "It's also got to be based on looking forward. Hopefully anytime you make a roster move, you're thinking about short-term and long term, and not necessarily in that order."

In addition to Ellis, Milwaukee also added former first-round pick Ekpe Udoh who provides added depth for the Bucks front court.

"So far, Monta and Ekpe have fit in really well," Skiles said. "We just have to hope to keep it going."

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

BOSTON – Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

Hayward, who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday night, was considering having the surgery in Boston or back in Indiana by a doctor who had operated on him when he played at Butler.

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It’s too soon to determine a timetable for Hayward’s return, although the Celtics anticipate he will most if not all of the remainder of this season.

Hayward’s injury delivers a major blow to a Celtics team that were considered a top-two team in the East by most.

With Hayward out for an extended period of time, teams like Washington and Toronto are likely to get more serious consideration as another strong threat to Cleveland which has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons.

Replacing Hayward in the Celtics starting lineup was Marcus Smart who joined Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE