A potential game-tying Al Horford tip-in came just after the buzzer sounded in Game 3, meaning the Boston Celtics are down 2-1 to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
After commanding wins by both teams in the two games in Boston, the first game in Milwaukee was much closer.
A tightly contested first half was followed by a dominant third quarter by the Bucks.
Milwaukee opened the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead before Boston clawed back.
Two Jaylen Brown free throws with 1:49 remaining gave the Celtics a 100-99 lead.
A Giannis Antetokounmpo layup and Jrue Holiday layup followed, however, giving Milwaukee a lead it would hold on to.
The ending did not go quietly, though.
This Bucks-Celtics ending was WILD 🤯 pic.twitter.com/pOFB8nwScu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 7, 2022
Jrue Holiday committed a personal foul on Marcus Smart that put him on the line with 4.6 seconds remaining.
After sinking the first, he purposefully missed the second.
Boston had numerous chances at a putback, with everyone missing besides Horford, which came after the final horn.
With the Celtics now down 2-1 in the series, should they be worried?
Celtics Cooled Off
After a strong start to the series from deep, Boston came back down to earth slightly in Game 3.
A combined 38-93 (40.8%) in the first two games was followed up with a 9-33 (27.3%) showing in Game 3.
The Celtics also took far fewer threes in the third game of the series.
56.7% of all Boston field goals in the first two games were a three.
That number fell to 37.9% in Game 3.
This was bound to happen at some point.
The Celtics attempted the ninth most threes (37.1 per game) in the league during the regular season while making them at the 14th best clip (35.6%).
Their combined shooting numbers through three games are more in line with their regular-season marks.
Boston most likely won’t shoot as poorly as they did in Game 3 for the rest of the series.
The Celtics were buoyed by shooting 20/43 (46.5%) from 3, but they also shot 18/37 (48.6%) on 2s. In Game 1, the latter mark was 10/34 (29.4%).
They're gonna get lots of good looks from 3. They just have to be *OK* inside the arc rather than awful. The defense will be there.
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) May 4, 2022
But they also may not shoot as well as they did the first two games.
If Boston has reasons to worry, their shooting is not one of them.
Giannis Heating Up
The reason the Celtics should be worried is 6’11” and has two MVP trophies.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was not his usual dominant self in Games 1 and 2.
He still tallied 52 points, 22 rebounds, and 19 assists.
However, he only shot 20-52 (38%) from the field and 11-20 (55%) from the line.
Antetokounmpo maybe got things going in Game 3.
“The Greek Freak” went for 42 points on 16-30 shooting, including 9-12 from the line, while adding 12 rebounds and 8 assists.
The former MVP did MVP things.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 42 points and made the go-ahead basket with 44.3 seconds left and the Milwaukee Bucks withstood a frantic flurry of shots in the final seconds to beat the Boston Celtics 103-101 for a 2-1 series lead. https://t.co/uTTW7znzXw
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 7, 2022
And if Giannis has indeed figured out the Celtics’ defense, Boston needs to be worried.
There are very few players in the NBA who can take over a game like Antetokounmpo can.
His dominance demands the attention of all five defenders.
Even if he cannot score himself, he will find the open teammate for a clean look at the basket.
The Celtics lost their home-court advantage after losing Game 1.
And are in danger of falling behind 3-1 to the defending champion Bucks led by the former MVP.NEXT: Who Are The X-Factors In The Celtics-Bucks Series?