With just over 30 seconds left in the game, the Boston Celtics were up 107-105. Over those next 30 seconds, the Milwaukee Bucks outscored them 5-0, overwhelming the Celtics with offensive rebounds and suffocating defense. Boston did not trail for 11:49 seconds of the fourth quarter, and they lost the game, 110-107.
The gut-wrenching defeat put the Celtics down 3-2 against the reigning champs, with the series now headed back to Milwaukee. Late-game turnovers and a lack of defensive rebounding were the clear culprits, but as noted by Jayson Tatum, the past cannot be changed.
After the contest, Boston’s star forward spoke to the media about his mentality moving forward. He said that, despite the sting of the loss, there’s no point in being sad about something that cannot be changed:
I mean, I could come up here and pout, be sad, and I’m sure there would be a big story about how we’re defeated, and I don’t believe in us. Or I could come in like, ‘you can’t change what happened.’ It stings, for sure. But, you know it’s 3-2, and it’s the first to four. There’s no sense in being sad or putting your head down.
Tatum finished the game with 34 points, six rebounds, and four assists while shooting 12-for-29 from the field and 2-of-11 from three-point land. Despite his big-time scoring night, Tatum did not make a field goal for the final 3:30 of the game. In fact, he only attempted two shots in that time span, as seen below.
The three-time All-Star doubled down on his mentality, though, saying that the only thing Boston can do is move forward. Tatum said that there’s no other choice than to simply win the next one:
Tough way to lose. But, how do we bounce back? I mean, just get ready. Get on the plane tomorrow, watch film, get your rest. Series not over. Go on the road and win one. Take it one game at a time, it’s not like we’re trying to win two in one day. That would be tough. Just gotta win the next game, honestly.
This was the Celtics’ mentality after their brutal Game 1 loss, too. The common word throughout their post-game press conferences then was ‘Tuesday,’ as that was the day of Game 2. After Game 5, it was a similar feeling.
Head coach Ime Udoka admitted that the team was angry, especially since, in his eyes, Boston had been the better team for the majority of the contest. However, Udoka put a positive spin on the loss, saying that it will make winning the series ‘sweeter’:
Guys are going to be pissed about the outcome, knowing we outplayed them for three and a half quarters. And so, we talked about showing our resolve, we made it tougher on ourselves now. It’ll make it sweeter when we bounce back, but we know we gave up a golden opportunity tonight.
This was the lead tracker for Game 5:
The Celtics led from 10:24 in the second quarter up until there were 42 seconds left in the game. But then, the fourth quarter hit, and things went sideways. While trying to stay positive, Udoka spoke about Boston’s late-game issues:
Still have an opportunity. It’s not a series-ending loss. And so, we have a chance to go make up for it. And like I said, we played extremely well for three and a half quarters. Got a little stagnant, missed some shots in the fourth, but also didn’t love our defense and those last quarters.
Not only did the Celtics miss some fourth-quarter looks, but the Bucks got red hot. Boston did not attempt a single three in the fourth quarter, but Milwaukee shot 6-of-6 from range, including a back-breaking triple from Giannis Antetokounmpo that came off of an offensive rebound.
Milwaukee finished the game with 17 offensive rebounds, including seven in the fourth quarter alone. Portis had seven offensive boards on his own. Every single Bucks player who touched the floor, other than George Hill, recorded an offensive rebound. The Celtics only recorded five as a team.
Boston will get their chance at revenge on Friday at Fiserv Forum. Game 6 tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST.