Celtics Vs. Bucks Takeaways: Al Horford Propels C's to Victory in Game 4

Celtics-Bucks takeaways: 'Playoff Al' takes over in Game 4 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics won't go down without a fight.

It wasn't pretty for most of Game 4, but the C's found a way to take down the Milwaukee Bucks and even the series back up at 2-2. They exploded for 43 fourth-quarter points to earn a thrilling 116-108 victory.

Al Horford and Jayson Tatum both stepped up with 30 points apiece and a combined 26 points in the fourth quarter. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown both dropped 18 points while Derrick White chipped in 11 off the bench.

Here's where Ime Udoka finished in Coach of the Year voting

For a while, Giannis Antetokounmpo appeared to have the Celtics on the ropes. The two-time MVP finished with 34 points -- 13 in the third quarter -- and 18 rebounds. He was a non-factor in the fourth, however, and that proved to be the difference as the C's escaped with what looked to be an improbable win.

The series heads back to Boston for Game 5 Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Here are our takeaways from a wild Game 4 in Milwaukee.

Al Horford finds the fountain of youth

Without Al Horford, the Celtics are down 3-1 and on the brink of elimination.

The 35-year-old turned back the clock with an all-time performance on Monday night. He carried the Celtics offensively with a career playoff-high 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting (5-7 from 3).

Horford came through in crunch time, dropping 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. That ties his career-high for fourth-quarter points in the regular season or playoffs.

This was Horford's first career 30-point performance in 132 playoff games. He's the oldest C's player with 30 points in the playoffs since John Havlicek accomplished the feat in Game 2 of the 1977 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Horford also went off in the C's Game 3 loss with 22 points and 16 boards. It's the first time since Nov. 2019 he's scored 22 or more points in consecutive games. This is the first time Horford has ever had back-to-back 20-point games in the playoffs.

Jayson Tatum turns it around

This was looking like another rough day at the office for Jayson Tatum. After scoring only 10 points in Game 3, the two-time All-Star had trouble getting shots to fall for most of Game 4. He snapped out of the slump when it mattered most.

Tatum tied Horford for a team-high 30 points (11-24 FG) with 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter. The 24-year-old kept the Bucks from staging a comeback by drilling clutch shot after clutch shot in the final frame.

That's the Tatum the Celtics will need going forward in order to finish off Milwaukee. His second-half surge was exactly what C's fans needed to see as the series returns to TD Garden for a pivotal Game 5.

Derrick White an unsung hero

Say what you will about Derrick White's consistency on offense, but it's been a solid series for the C's guard and he was key to Monday night's win.

White notched 11 points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench. He came through with a clutch corner 3 late in the third quarter that cut the Bucks' lead back to single digits. The shot gave Boston the momentum it needed heading into the fourth quarter.

Defensively, White held the Bucks to 0-for-12 shooting as the primary defender. He was a +18, second in the game behind only Horford (+20).

Celtics feel Robert Williams' absence

Robert Williams was sidelined for Game 4 due to knee soreness and while he hasn't been 100 percent in the series, the C's definitely missed his presence.

Boston had no answer for Milwaukee on the offensive boards. The Bucks brought down 13 offensive rebounds to the Celtics' four. That discrepancy was a major reason for the C's struggles early on. Milwaukee took advantage with 12 second-chance points.

Grant Williams started in Time Lord's place and didn't look like his "Batman" self. He had nine points (3-9 FG, 1-5 3-PT) with two turnovers (both in the first quarter) and four fouls. Daniel Theis was a non-factor off the bench, shooting 0-of-5 from the floor and jacking up a couple of ill-advised 3s.

Fortunately, it didn't cost the Celtics a victory, and there's hope Rob Williams could be back in the mix for Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Copyright RSN
Contact Us