• It may not have been a quiet Thursday night, with just one game on tap. The battle in the East between the Celtics and the Bucks did not disappoint.

    As expected, Giannis Antetokounmpo stepped up. He delivered a game-high 31 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals. The Greek Freak’s big game was enough of a difference maker for the Bucks to even the series 3-3 with a 97-88 victory. Both Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in with 16 points apiece.

    John Henson (back) was ruled out before the game and Thon Maker got another start at center. Maker had been making a decent impact with his extra minutes in recent games. He came up with four points, seven boards and one blocked shot in this one.  Eric Bledsoe struggled with his shot and managed to put up nine points, four dimes, a trey, a steal and one block. Jabari Parker delivered a solid performance off the bench, as he flirted with a double-double, recording nine points, 11 boards, two assists, a triple and one steal.

    This was not a cake walk for the Bucks. The Celtics fought hard, led by Jason Tatum’s 22-point effort and Terry Rozier’s 18 points. Coach Brad Stevens has been just spectacular this season with how he’s managed to squeeze every ounce of value and production from the guys he’s had to work with. Unfortunately for the Mean Green Machine, they could not grab this game by the horns.

    Both Jaylen Brown and Al Horford dealt with some foul trouble in portions of the game and finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively.  Marcus Morris was effective off the bench with 12 points to his name. Greg Monroe, not so much, with a scoreless effort in three minutes of action.

    This series is headed for a photo finish and Stevens will need to dig deep into his bag of tricks to deflect the Bucks’ versatile, mutli-talented tools. My gut tells me, despite the Celtics being favored to advance, the Bucks will progress to the Eastern Conference semis after all is said and done.

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