– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
BOSTON — Midway through the third quarter saw a freakish athletic play made on both ends by the same Milwaukee Bucks player, skying high to block a three-point attempt from out of nowhere before leaking out into the frontcourt, taking a pass and finishing on the fast break with a two-handed slam to continue Milwaukee’s positive momentum in another game-changing third-quarter turnaround.
The play had Giannis Antetokounmpo written all over it. It was, but he was on the bench as he witnessed one of his team’s reserves during that quarter, Pat Connaughton, assume the role of athletic freak as Milwaukee moved one step closer to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Connaughton, along with reserve point guard George Hill, spearheaded a 33-point third quarter in propelling the Bucks to a 113-101 victory over the Boston Celtics to take a commanding three-games-to-one series lead and take both Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden. One game after the bench scored 42 points in a win in Game 3, the Bucks’ “bench mob” carried the load for Antetokounmpo and second-leading scorer Khris Middleton, also saddled with four fouls early in the third quarter, to continue the trend of dominant third quarters against Boston.
“Its amazing. We’ve got 12 guys on the team and they are all great NBA players,” said Antetokounmpo, who still finished the game with 39 points. “It’s amazing to see that the bench can keep playing hard, keep defending hard and set the tone for us. I think I was on the bench, Khris was on the bench, [Eric] Bledsoe was on the bench and they’ve done a great job all season, they’ve been the difference maker in this series. It’s great to have guys that can step up like that from the bench.”