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Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from Game 4

Vincent Frank

The Boston Celtics needed a road win in Game 4 against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks Monday night to avoid what would have pretty much been an insurmountable 3-1 series deficit.

With Milwaukee leading by seven heading into the fourth quarter, it sure looked like this wasn’t going to happen. Reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was dominating on both ends of the court. Boston’s star duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum didn’t have answers after struggling in Game 3.

That’s when an unlikely hero showed up in the form of 35-year-old big man Al Horford. Including this poster dunk on the Greek Freak, Horford dropped 16 points in the fourth quarter to light a fire under the Celtics.

The end result was Boston going on a 14-2 run and taking the game by the score of 116-108. Horford tallied a playoff career-high 30 points in helping the Celtics tie the series at two in what was a must win. Meanwhile, Tatum rebounded to the tune of 30 points of his own in Game 4.

Below, we look at three takeaways from the Boston Celtics huge eight-point win over the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night.

Related: Boston Celtics as top NBA title contenders?

Giannis Antetokounmpo was not efficient for the Milwaukee Bucks

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
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The two-time NBA MVP entered Monday’s game averaging 29.6 points on 21.3 shots per game during the playoffs. He was shooting at 51% from the field with a 52% effective field goal mark.

Despite putting up some absolutely eye-opening numbers throughout Game 4, it became clear that Antetokounmpo was struggling to hit his shot on a consistent basis.

Giannis also committed an obvious charging foul with the Boston Celtics on an extended run in the fourth quarter. With Khris Middleton sidelined for this series, the defending champs need Antetokounmpo to be in complete domination mode. Scoring 34 points on 32 shots while turning the ball over four times and committing five fouls in 41 minutes isn’t that.

Related: Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and NBA’s top-50 players

Al Horford, Boston Celtics role players come to play

NBA: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We talked about Horford’s massive dunk on Giannis above, but the veteran was just brilliant throughout the game. When all was said and done, Horford connected on 11-of-14 shots while scoring 30 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Boston was plus-20 in the 42 minutes Horford played. To say this was a big-time performance with fellow big man Robert Williams (knee) sidelined would be an understatement.

Boston also got a ton of production from reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart on the offensive end of the court. He continually took Jrue Holiday to task, shooting 8-of-13 while finishing with 18 points and eight assists in another stellar outing. If Horford and Smart play like this moving forward, Boston might just have a fighting chance against the Bucks.

Jrue Holiday comes up small for the Milwaukee Bucks

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics
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Dating back to the final game of the first-round series against the Chicago Bulls, Holiday has struggled shooting the ball. Heading into Game 4, he was shooting 36% from the field, including a 29% mark from three-point range in his previou four outings. That didn’t change in Monday’s loss to the Boston Celtics.

Milwaukee finished the game minus-23 with Holiday on the court. As with Giannis, the Bucks can’t afford this type of inefficient performance with Middleton still sidelined to injury.

In reality, Holiday’s Game 4 outing is the primary reason these Milwaukee Bucks head back to Boston with the series tied at two and having given up home-court advantage. They need more from him moving forward.