NBA Playoffs: Celtics trample Bucks in fourth quarter, Curry sparks Warriors turnaround
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - The Boston Celtics produced an incredible fourth quarter to take Game 4 116-108 on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks, tying the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
A strong start for home side saw them hold the Celtics to just 18 points in the first quarter, but the tough play of Al Horford, Derrick White, and Jaylen Brown helped the visitors back into the game, trailing 48-47 at half-time.
Performances went up a gear in the second half, as a massive Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk on Horford was then reciprocated, with both players receiving technical fouls after their respective dunks.
After a quiet start, Jayson Tatum began to find his footing, eventually taking over to score 20 of his 30 points in the second half, with 13 rebounds and five assists.
Tatum was vital to the Celtics, but Horford was their best player, with 30 points with eight rebounds and three assists, while also being their primary source of interior defense.
There were times when it appeared Antetokounmpo simply would not be denied, going on to post game-highs in points with 34 and rebounds with 18, but he needed far more offensive help from Jrue Holiday, who shot just five-of-22 from the field for his 16 points to go with his nine assists and seven rebounds.
Antetokounmpo's 13 points in the quarter guided the Bucks to a 80-73 lead at three-quarter time, but there would be nothing they could do about the offensive onslaught that was to come.
In the final frame, the Celtics shot 16-of-19 from the field, four-of-five from three-point range and seven-of-seven from the free-throw line, winning the quarter 43-28 and pulling away down the stretch.
Game 5 will head back to Boston, with Game 6 scheduled to return to Milwaukee. Game 7, if needed, will be played in Boston.
Warriors one step away from West finals
The Memphis Grizzlies lacked the firepower to match the Golden State Warriors down the stretch, going down 101-98 as the Warriors established a 3-1 series lead in their Western Conference semi-final.
Without Ja Morant, who missed the game after suffering a knee injury in Game 3, the Grizzlies fought gallantly, leading at quarter-time, half-time, and three-quarter time as their defense rose to the occasion and turned it into a scrap.
With Jaren Jackson Jr dominating around the rim – blocking five shots and snatching two steals – the Warriors were held to just 38 points in the first half, but poor shooting from Jackson and Dillon Brooks bogged down the Grizzlies offense.
Needing a hero in the fourth quarter, Warriors superstar Steph Curry stepped up, scoring 18 of his 32 points, including eight consecutive clutch free throws in the final minute, as his team edged ahead and clung on to a narrow lead. He is now the only NBA player in history to hit the 500 three-pointer mark in the playoffs.
Andrew Wiggins was arguably the Warriors' strongest performer across all four quarters, with 17 points and five of his 10 rebounds coming on the offensive end, and he added two blocks and one steal.
The Dubs can clinch the series on Wednesday in Memphis.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports