Playoff series tend to get testy as they go along, and this matchup is no different. Terry Rozier and Eric Bledsoe continued their budding rivalry, while the officials had to break up several other mini-dustups. In the end, the Celtics defense looked a lot more like the lockdown group from the regular season than they had at any point in the first four games of the series.
Milwaukee shot 36.8 percent from the field overall and just 9 of 33 from behind the arc. Khris Middleton, who has dominated offensively to this point in the series, was 9 of 21 from the floor for 23 points, including eight points late in the fourth quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16 on just 10 field goal attempts, as Boston held the duo in check for the first time. Semi Ojeleye was a surprise starter and did an incredible job by making life difficult on Antetokounmpo.
The Celtics were buoyed by the return of Marcus Smart, as he made several of his signature plays. Seconds into his first stint, he dove on the floor for steal. Then he drew an and-1 off a baseline out-of-bounds play. Then he blocked a lob attempt to Antetokounmpo at the rim. For the game he finished with nine points, five rebounds, four assist and three blocks.
Al Horford played the kind of dominating game the Celtics want from him, as he led the way with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Jaylen Brown struggled some but came on late for 14 points, while Rozier added 16.
The Bucks got a lift off their bench from the resurgent Jabari Parker, as he scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Seldom-used Shabazz Muhammad added 11 points, all during one run in the third quarter. Bledsoe scored 16 points but struggled to shoot, as he hit just 5 of 15 from the floor.
The series returns to Milwaukee on Thursday night for Game 6. The time is to be determined, pending the outcome of Philadelphia/Miami and Golden State/San Antonio.
Trags Recap of Game 5: