Keys to the Game: Celtics 116, Bucks 108

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

jQuery(document).ready(function() { addByline("Marc D'Amico", "Celtics.com", "Marc_DAmico"); keysToTheGame(); });

Key Moment

Al Horford did so, so much Monday night. Enough that one could accurately claim that he single-handedly gave the Celtics an opportunity to even this series up at two games apiece.

His biggest play of the night, not coincidentally, also just so happened to be the play of the night.

Boston simply did not have its a-game during Game 4 but somehow stayed within shouting distance and never faded from the Bucks. Early on in the fourth quarter, it finally had a chance to tie the game thanks to Horford’s dominance.

The 15-year veteran hauled in a rebound off a missed layup by Jrue Holiday at one end and quickly got the ball to Marcus Smart to initiate a transition possession in the other direction. Horford set a trail screen for Smart and then popped to the right wing, where he then caught a pass from Smart. That’s where this play began to heat up.

Horford immediately threw a shot fake, which drew an aggressive close-out from Giannis Antetokounmpo. That close-out allowed Horford to attack the two-time league MVP off the dribble to his right.

Two dribbles later, Horford rose up for a wide-open, thunderous slam that tied the game up at 80-80 with 9:51 left on the clock. He also drew a foul on the play from Antetokounmpo as Milwaukee’s star attempted to block the monstrous slam from behind.

Horford, known for his post-dunk flexes, didn’t just flex after this slam. He screamed at the top of his lungs amid what bordered on being an out-of-body experience in the moment.

That play did tie the game, but more importantly, it ignited the rest of the Celtics. Every member of the bench flew out of their seat and onto the edge of the court. And every Boston player on the court truly began to believe and up their own respective games at that point.

The Celtics went on to outscore Milwaukee 36-28 the rest of the way while pulling ahead by as many as 10 points on multiple occasions. They finished off the night with a 116-108 victory to tie the series up at 2-2 while returning home-court advantage into their back pockets.

Key Player

Al Horford was the savior. But Jayson Tatum was the king.

Tatum exploded for a monster double-double Monday night that consisted of 30 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. His point total also tied Horford for the top mark on the team, and he contributed five assists as well.

The star wing had scored only nine points at halftime before doubling that total during the third period. He then poured in 12 points during the fourth quarter alone, including a dagger of a 3-pointer amid a 5-for-6 shooting performance.

Tatum’s ability to join forces with Horford propelled Boston into the winner’s circle. There’s no question about that.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Two Celtics, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford, scored 30 points during the game.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only Bucks player to score more than 17 points, and he scored 34.
  • Horford's 30 points stand as a new playoff career high.
  • Both teams led by double-digits during the game.
  • Boston shot 50 percent from the floor, while Milwaukee shot just 41.5 percent.
  • Antetokounmpo grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds, while Tatum led Boston with 13.
  • Horford made five of Boston's 14 3-pointers.
  • Derrick White was Boston's only reserve who scored. He tallied 11 points off the bench.
  • The C's scored a series-best 48 points in the paint.
  • Jrue Holiday led the game in assists with nine, while Marcus Smart led Boston with eight.
  • Horford logged the top plus/minus rating of the night at plus-20, while Holiday logged the worst at minus-23.
  • Milwaukee made more free throws (21) than Boston attempted (20).
  • Boston shot 84.2 percent (16-for-19) from the field during the fourth quarter.

Quote of the Night

Marcus Smart on Al Horford