It was a different story on Monday in the East, as Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter to propel the Bucks to a 113-101 victory over the Celtics in Boston and a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Milwaukee will try to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals when they host game five on Wednesday.
The Celtics need to be a lot better to avoid elimination against the Bucks.
“It’s win or go home,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It takes a lot of mental fortitude. It takes a lot of mental toughness. It reveals a lot. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
Once again in their series, the third quarter proved pivotal, with the Bucks outscoring the Celtics 33-23 to turn a 49-47 halftime deficit to an 80-72 lead.
The turnaround came with Antetokounmpo on the bench with his fourth foul for the last eight minutes of the quarter.
During that span, the Bucks outscored the Celtics 21-13 and when Antetokounmpo returned in the fourth, the Bucks only pressed the action more.
Milwaukee took their biggest lead of the night 91-79 on a driving Eric Bledsoe’s finger-roll finish with 9:05 left to play.
Boston closed within five on Al Horford’s driving layup less than two minutes later, but they would get no closer.
Antetokounmpo, coming off a 32-point game on Friday, connected on 15 of 22 shots from the field and pulled down 16 rebounds.
Bledsoe and Khris Middleton added 13 points apiece and George Hill added 15 points off the bench.
“It’s amazing,” Antetokounmpo said. “I think the whole group, the whole team played hard. Everybody was ready, everybody stepped up.
“This is what (separates) an average team from a great team,” he added, “that if you have the opportunity to be up two games, we’re all ready.”
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 23 points and 10 assists, but made just seven of 22 shots from the field.
Overall, the Celtics made just 37.8 percent of their shots and heard boos from the home field as they left the court.