Bucks boot out Celtics, book first conference finals berth
MANILA, Philippines – The No. 1 team booked the first NBA conference finals berth.
The Milwaukee Bucks sustained their stellar run and blew past the Boston Celtics, 116-91, in Game 5 to clinch an Eastern Conference finals berth for the first time in 18 years.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led a balanced effort with 20 points as the Bucks wrapped up the semifinal series against Kyrie Irving and the Celtics at 4-1 on Wednesday, May 8 (Thursday, May 9, Manila time).
“It’s amazing, it was a team effort,” said Antetokounmpo, who also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists. “We came out, we did not mess around, we did our job.”
The Bucks, who reached the finals for the first time since 2001, will go up against the winner of the series between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Both teams are really dangerous,” said Antetokounmpo. “Whoever wins that series, we got to be ready.”
The Bucks had the game in control by the 2nd quarter, erecting a 16-point lead, 52-36, in a run sparked by Khris Middleton and Nikola Mirotic.
Middleton finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists, while Eric Bledsoe scored 18 and had 6 boards.
Rounding out Milwaukee’s 7 double-digit performers were George Hill (16 points), Mirotic (10 points, 11 rebounds), Ersan Ilyasova (10 points, 6 rebounds) and Malcolm Brogdon (10 points).
Irving led the Celtics with 15 points but had another woeful shooting night of 6-of-21 (29%).
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris added 14 points each for the Celtics, who pulled off a shocker against the Bucks in the series opener but lost the next 4 games.
“The first game we weren’t focused enough,” said Antetokounmpo. “But the next 4 games we came with a different approach, a different mindset, a killer mindset.” – Rappler.com