Celtics

Celtics-Bucks takeaways: Milwaukee stuns C's late to steal Game 5

Celtics
Jrue Holiday

BOSTON -- It took all of 10 minutes for the Celtics' playoff fortunes to change Wednesday night.

Boston led the Milwaukee Bucks by 14 points with 10 minutes remaining in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at TD Garden and appeared on its way to a 3-2 series lead.

The Bucks came storming back, however, outscoring Boston 33-14 down the stretch en route to a stunning 110-107 victory.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo (40 points, 11 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (24 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) played key roles in Milwaukee's comeback, while Bobby Portis' putback layup with 11.4 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to score 60 points (34 and 26, respectively) for Boston, while Marcus Smart added 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. 

Here are our takeaways from a defeat that puts the Celtics one loss from playoff elimination entering Game 6 in Milwaukee on Friday night.

Defense wins championships

The Celtics played well offensively for most of the night, but the Bucks put the clamps on Boston late to engineer their comeback.

Holiday in particular was a defensive menace, his signature play a block on Smart with 8.7 seconds remaining and his team up by one point.

 

Holiday then picked Smart's pocket on Boston's final possession to seal Milwaukee's victory.

After committing five turnovers total over the first three quarters, the Celtics had five turnovers in the fourth quarter alone. Their offense looked stagnant, as Tatum settled for midrange jumpers and the team didn't attempt a single 3-pointer.

Boston still misses Time Lord

If there's one area where Milwaukee had the clear advantage in Game 5, it was on the offensive glass. The Bucks racked up 17 offensive rebounds to Boston's five, none more important than the late putback by Portis, who had seven offensive boards.

Milwaukee also won the overall rebounding battle 49-36, taking advantage of Robert Williams' absence to dominate in the paint.

The Celtics managed to win Game 4 without Williams and should have won without him Wednesday night. But Boston's shortcomings in the paint finally caught up to them down the stretch, and the C's will need Time Lord back in action Friday night if they want to force a Game 7.

Has Derrick White turned the corner?

Derrick White was an early bright spot for Boston, tallying nine points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first half while showcasing encouraging aggressiveness on the offensive end.

White didn't score in the second half, but he finished with six assists and was a plus-eight on the night. White appears to have found his stride offensively, as he now has 34 points over his last three games after shooting 28.6 percent from the floor over his first six playoff contests.

The Celtics can't rely on Al Horford going off for 30 points like he did in Game 4 -- Horford finished with eight points on 4-of-7 shooting in Game 5 -- so it will be up to players like White to provide secondary scoring if the C's want to keep their season alive.