Horford, Smart lift Celtics; 76ers finish off heat

Apr 26, 2018, 06:48
Horford, Smart lift Celtics; 76ers finish off heat

And then there were hustle plays all over the floor.

It would have been unrealistic to expect Smart to start in his first game back, but the standards of keeping that position are officially raised for Rozier.

Horford's numbers are up from his regular-season averages of 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, but his veteran leadership and versatility are not to be overlooked. In the end, the extra possession didn't result in a basket for the Celtics, as Marcus Morris missed a jumper, but it did allow them to roll an extra 20 seconds or so off the clock, which at that juncture in the game was nearly as important as two points.

"I just tried to make sure I got him the ball and it was going to take everything I had", Smart said.

Smart had surgery on March 16 to fix a torn ligament in his right thumb. While he was playing, Smart did Smart things.

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"It came from previous year, really", Bucks swingman Khris Middleton said.

INJURY UPDATE: Getting Smart back was a rare bit of good news for Boston in this injury-marred season, one where the Celtics have been without Gordon Hayward since opening night and ultimately lost Kyrie Irving for the playoffs.

A permanent fixture in the Milwaukee rotation since joining the roster before the 2016/17 season, his role on the team was suddenly in question, as a lack of preparation became a concern for head coach Joe Prunty. That continued in Game 5.

Antetokounmpo had 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in Game 1 and 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Game 2.

In the final two quarters the Celtics, led by Brown and Tatum, had shown a championship-level amount of basketball toughness in the playoffs, and on the road.

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When he first comes back, it will be too early for Smart to start.

Meanwhile, Baynes played 10 minutes off the bench and finished with four points and two rebounds. If the Celtics want to win this series, they will need to contain the "Greek Freak" in Game 6 and then again in Game 7 if necessary.

They also savored the moment. On the defensive end, [defending] your shot and protecting your teammates. Late in the fourth, with the Celtics up four, the refs would miss a clear shot clock violation. The ball clearly was still on Horford's hand after the timer expired to the point that multiple Bucks stopped playing on the play.

If the Heat have any chance of extending this series they really need to buckle down and play with the same grit they have played with the entire series.

Asked after the game about the lack of a 24-second violation, Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe vented. The home team has won all five games in the first-round series. Redick followed with his third 3-pointer.

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