The Greek star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo claimed his status as leader and franchise player with a double-double of 31 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 recoveries of the ball with which he guided the Bucks of Milwaukee to the 97-86 victory against the Boston Celtics.
The win in the sixth game of the playoff elimination allows the Bucks to tie 3-3 the series and force the seventh game that will decide the winner to go to the semifinals, which will play with the Philadelphia Sixers, classified by the first time since 2012, after winning the tie 4-1 against the Miami Heat.
The seventh and decisive game will be played on Saturday at the TD Garden Center in Boston and will be the first to play the Bucks since 2010 when they lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks.
The forward Khris Middleton and the guard Malcolm Brogdon contributed 16 points each and completed the list of the six players of the Bucks who had double-digit numbers.
Brogdon, with a triple and 5:22 minutes to play, put the Bucks with a partial 84-78 that would be decisive because the Celtics could not react in the fight for the comeback.
The Celtics had no inspiration with the shots from outside the perimeter to score just 10 of 36 attempts to leave a 28 percent success that was not enough.
Neither of the paint had the best opportunities because the Bucks imposed their greatest power, while in the offensive Antetokounmpo punished without compassion to the defense of the Celtics.
After the base Eric Bledsoe stole a ball from rookie forward Jayson Tatum, who had tried to take out, Antetokounmpo converted an offensive rebound in the basket and the Bucks placed the partial score at 89-81 with 3:08 minutes remaining and consolidated an 11-3 run that gave them the opportunity to increase the advantage to 10 points.
Given the possibility of having been eliminated, the Bucks played a more aggressive offensive basketball than in the fifth game, which they lost in Boston.
Especially Antetokounmpo, who this time claimed his status as a player twice named to the All-Star Game and saved the Bucks after scoring 20 of his 34 points in the second half when he hit 8 of 14 field goals.
Tatum emerged as the Celtics’ leading scorer with 22 points, three rebounds, three assists, recovered two balls and lost another three.
The base Terry Rozier reached 18 points as the second highest scorer of the Celtics, who after having dominated in the indoor game in previous games, this time they did not capture 39 rebounds for 48 of the Bucks.
Along with Tatum and Rozier, three other Celtics players had double-digit numbers, such as guard Jaylen Brown and backup power forward Marcus Morris, who scored 14 points apiece.
While the center pivot Al Horford could not be a winning factor for the Celtics but contributed a double-double of 10 points after playing 33 minutes.
Horford scored 4 of 8 field goals, including 2 of 4 triples, and did not go to the personnel line.
The Dominican international captured eight defensive rebounds, gave four assists, put two blocks and lost two balls.
The game, which was played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, with a full in the stands, had a guest of honor to the former US President Bill Clinton, who gave the hand to the guard Marcus Smart of the Celtics.