Boston Celtics Al Horford (R) keeps the ball away from Milwaukee Bucks Khris Middleton (L) during the second quarter of game one of the Eastern Conference First Round playoffs between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Apr. 15, 2018. EPA-EFE/CJ GUNTHER
Boston, USA, Apr 15 (efe-epa).- The Boston Celtics won Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime on Sunday night at the TD Garden in Boston.
The Celtics, who finished second in the East in the regular season, had firepower all over the floor, as Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown all scored 20 points or more.
Horford led his team with 24, adding 12 rebounds and four assists, while Jayson Tatum, making his first playoff appearance, also made his presence felt with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics went into the half time break trailing the visiting seventh seeded Bucks by three points, but took control in the second half through Horford, opening up a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee stayed within touching distance thanks to big contributions from Giannis Antetokounmpo with 35 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists, while Khris Middleton added 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Bucks came back to reduce the nine-point deficit to three and set up a frantic final few seconds, which saw Malcolm Brogdon sinking a massive three-pointer to tie the game, followed by an immediate reply from the Celtics as Rozier sank three of his own to make the score 99-96 with just half a second left on the clock.
Up stepped Khris Middleton, beating the buzzer with a three-pointer from distance to level the score at 99 apiece and take the game into overtime.
Boston’s greater organization and know-how saw them through the extra period, which they won 14-8.
“You can count us out all you want, but we’ve got each other”, a defiant Terry Rozier said afterwards.
“Our opponents have got to go through us, and we’re not going easy”, he added.
Game two of the best-of-seven series will be played at TD Garden on Tuesday.