A potential game-tying Al Horford tip came just after the buzzer sounded in Game 3, which meant the Boston Celtics lost 2-1 to defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
After picking up wins for both teams in both games in Boston, Game 1 in Milwaukee was much closer.
A hotly contested first half was followed by a dominating third quarter by the Bucks.
Milwaukee opened the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead before Boston recovered.
Two free throws from Jaylen Brown with 1:49 remaining gave the Celtics a 100-99 lead.
A Giannis Antetokounmpo layup and a Jrue Holiday layup followed, however, giving Milwaukee a lead they would cling to.
The end did not go smoothly, however.
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 which put him on the line with 4.6 seconds left.
After sinking the first, he deliberately missed the second.
Boston had plenty of chances to pull back, with everyone missing except for Horford, who came on after the final horn.
With the Celtics now down 2-1 in the series, should they be worried?
After a strong start to the series from deep, Boston came down to earth slightly in Game 3.
A combined 38-93 (40.8%) in the first two games was followed by a 9-33 (27.3%) in Game 3.
The Celtics also took significantly fewer threes in Game 3 of the series.
56.7% of all of Boston’s field goals in the first two games were threes.
That number dropped to 37.9% in Game 3.
It had 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 the 14th-best clip (35.6%).
Their combined shot numbers through three games are more in line with their regular season ratings.
Boston probably won’t shoot as badly as they did in Game 3 for the rest of the series.
The Celtics were backed by shooting 20/43 (46.5%) from 3, but they also shot 18/37 (48.6%) from 2s. In game 1, this last rating was 10/34 (29.4%).
They’re going to get a lot of good looks from 3. They just need to be *OK* inside the arc rather than horrible. The defense will be there.
—Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) May 4, 2022
But they also may not shoot as well as they did in the first two games.
If Boston has reason to be concerned, their shootout isn’t one of them.
Giannis warming 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 had 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 may have shaken things up 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 scored the basket with 44.3 seconds left and the Milwaukee Bucks held off a frantic flurry of shots in the final seconds to beat the Boston Celtics 103-101 for a 2-1 lead in series. https://t.co/uTTW7znzXw
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 7, 2022
And if Giannis understood the Celtics defense correctly, Boston must be worried.
There are very few players in the NBA who can take control of a game like Antetokounmpo can.
His dominance demands the attention of all five defenders.
Even if he can’t score himself, he will find the teammate open for a clean look at the basket.
The Celtics lost their home court advantage after losing Game 1.
And risk falling behind 3-1 against the Bucks, defending champions, led by the former MVP.