Published: Thu, April 26, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Celtics hold on, take 3-2 series lead

Celtics hold on, take 3-2 series lead

Any playoff loss will not be remembered fondly by the Celtics faithful, but Sunday's 104-102 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks should be.

When you take into account the depth issues created by injuries, it won't just be on defense where the Celtics feel an immediate impact with Smart.

The Bucks, frantically trying to get a defensive stop and the ball back in order to try and make it a one-possession game, kept the Celtics from getting any clean looks.

Milwaukee is a tough team at home, but the Celtics nearly knocked them off in game 4.

Smart's energy and emotion were overflowing even before he checked into the game, as he eagerly bounced up and down on the sidelines for eight minutes before his number was finally called in the first quarter.

Rozier has been superb and has more than shown he is capable of being the starter and primary ball handler.

"Giannis is a heck of a player", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. Played with tremendous spirit, played with tremendous toughness and made shots. Smart says that last nights win was big for the team and that their confidence is back to being high. From there, the Celtics made free throws to close the game.

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"The rule states that under 2 minutes we are not allowed to review a potential 24-second violation unless the ball goes in the basket", Mauer said, according to a pool report distributed by the league.

The Celtics need Smart to be a part of their top defensive lineups, and they want all the help around him to make sure he can not become a liability by taking too many contested shots. It makes it a lot easier for us guards to get in the paint and find guys or create our own shot.

Ojeleye guarded Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for much of the night - "a tall task" per Stevens's standards. The Celtics or Bucks will face a Sixers team with a lot of momentum on their side. Giannis Antetokounmpo could not get going, with Smart disrupting him at the rim.

A 16-point lead was down to four with 2:40 to play when Jaylen Brown was fouled on a drive and went to the line for one make and an 82-77 lead with 2:23 to play.

Smart is an extremely aggressive and hard-nosed player and is able to help change the way a game is played with his abilities. "It brings something out of you - just an extra ounce of competitiveness and intensity".

It took exactly 43 seconds for Marcus Smart to be, well, Marcus Smart. While Muhammad gave the Bucks good minutes early in the second half, Prunty's decision to play him in crunch time over Matthew Dellavadova, Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell or Thon Maker was very confusing.

"I think it was bulls--, point blank", Bledsoe said before a Bucks media relations staffer ended his postgame session with reporters.

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