Starting with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Al Horford played up to 30 games to save the Boston Celtics in Game 4.

MILWAUKEE – Al Horford knew it was revenge.

After Giannis Antetokounmpo mocked him in the third quarter on Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks star received a flaw in his comments about Horford. When Horford returned to the courtroom, he just shook his head and said “OK” looking at the Antetokounmpo side.

“I did not understand what he said, but the way he looked at me did not please me,” Horford said. “That made me go.”

The next quarter, Horford retaliated. He grabbed the ball around and hit Antetokounmpo with a fake pump. Antetokounmpo slightly and Horford drove to his right, raising the edge of the MVP over and over again, screaming loudly.

It was a turning point for Boston when they played Milwaukee in a 116-108 Game 4 victory. The series, now tied for 2, will return to Boston on Wednesday night.

Horford drew technical malice following his dunk, when he unknowingly hit Antetokounmpo at a party that caused him to scream from line to side. Milwaukee led by 10 points at the end of the third quarter, but Horford’s strike set a definite stamp in the 10-0 run that brought the Celtics back into the game, and improved.

“The playoffs are touching, very powerful,” Horford said. “These days, things were not going well. Things were difficult there for a while. (Marcus) Smart kept talking to the group and telling us to stay. Yes, that’s what it was.”

Smart said Horford’s dunk was what gave the Celtics the strength they needed to cope with a game that was tough.

“It’s a long-term game in a big time,” said Smart. “It’s a gym. We were on the other side a couple of times, so it was nice to have it.”

Horford had 16 points and was 6 out of 6 on the field in the fourth quarter, dropping 3-pointers and two free throws. He finished with 30 points, the top playoff for the 35-year-old who was playing in his 132nd postseason games.

It came after he raised 22 points and returned 16 in Game 3 losing Saturday, a defeat that Horford and the rest of the team performed harder than ever.

“We heard at the end of Game 3 that we were able to win the game and we didn’t,” Horford said. “I was just locked inside. I understood the time and what we needed to do as a team. Just get out and we were doing whatever it took tonight. It was one of the night’s colors.”

The team followed Horford’s lead in the fourth quarter with 43 points from 16-19 to escape the title. The 43 points for the fourth quarter are very similar in the final round of the Celtics franchise history (built by Game 5 of 2001 for the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers), according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Boston 84.2% shot was the best part of any team on the team from 1997-98.

The Bucks changed the course of Horford’s free throw when they accidentally hit Antetokounmpo, and Horford hit his own due to a foul on the game. Milwaukee got the next two baskets to take the lead, but Horford was there, finishing the 7-0 run fast with a 3-pointer.

When the Bucks took the lead with Antetokounmpo’s 6:02 lead, Horford responded with a 3-pointer to give Boston a good lead. After elevating Celtics 95-94, Horford came back with an old three-point game in the next Boston section to give the Celtics bench a celebration.

The Celtics climbed the touch to the end, but all went well.

“That was hell,” said Jayson Tatum. “Especially every time Al turns around and looks like an old man, he removes everyone from the bench. Al plays with a lot of passion. When Al plays with such passion, everyone should follow.”


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