The Boston Celtics pulled off an impressive turnaround against the Milwaukee Bucks on their own home floor in Game 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks held an 11-point lead late in the third quarter and entered the fourth up seven points. But what happened next will resonate with Celtics fans for quite some time, particularly if they can pull off the series win in the coming days.
Here are the five best stats from the Celtics' epic 4th in Game 4:
Al Horford's 4th quarter for the ages
It was a total team effort for Boston to keep pace with Milwaukee all throughout the night, then execute the finishing blows in the fourth quarter. But if there's one Celtics player that stood out in Game 4 – it's Boston's newest clutch king Al Horford.
Horford tallied a new playoff career high with 30 points. That's just four points shy of his absolute career high just less than a month before he turns 36 years old. He made all six of his shots in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 30 points in the final frame while leading the team with an absurd +17 in the plus/minus department. That includes a massive poster dunk on two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
AL HORFORD ON GIANNIS 😳 pic.twitter.com/npIiEGTTMZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2022
“The way he was looking at me and the way that he was going about it really didn't sit well with me. And at that point I think just something switched with me in the game,” said the Celtics big man on getting motivated by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Celtics fans sure hope the Greek Freak gives Al Horford another shady look in Game 5.
The rest of the Celtics were scorching-hot too
It wasn't just Al Horford that keyed the comeback. The other Celtics on the floor got the message as well. The Celtics as a team made 16 of their 19 shot attempts from the field during the fourth quarter – good for 84.2%. That's tied for the highest field goal percentage in a 4th quarter of a playoff game since 2015.
Aside from Horford, Jayson Tatum had it going as well. The Celtics All-Star poured in 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting as the two players by themselves matched the Bucks' entire 28-point total in the fourth quarter.
The Boston Celtics shot 16/19 (84.2%) from the field in the 4th quarter of Game 4 vs the Bucks. That is tied for the highest FG% in the 4th quarter of a playoff game since 2015.
The Suns also shot 16/19 in the 4th quarter vs the Mavs in Game 2 last week. pic.twitter.com/5YLwQUC3XL
— TatumMuse (@TatumMuse) May 10, 2022
Nobody wearing Celtics green had any plans of missing in that fourth quarter.
The Bucks' worst 4Q display in the Bud era
Even after their 116-108 loss in Game 4 to the Celtics, the Bucks remain the top team in defensive rating throughout the postseason. Their 99.4 mark is so far ahead of everyone else that it's almost comical.
The Celtics, who owned the best defense in the NBA during the regular season with a defensive rating of 106.2, haven't taken much of a step back in these playoffs. But their 107.6 defensive rating stands lightyears away from Milwaukee's defensive excellence through their nine playoff games.
However, for one shining 12-minute span, Boston said to hell with the analytics.
Last night, the Bucks gave up 43 points in the fourth quarter, the most points they have surrendered in a single playoff quarter under Mike Budenholzer.
“Nobody said it’s going to be easy." – @Giannis_An34
On their 4th quarter collapse, at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/jethcFI9rx
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) May 10, 2022
The Celtics piled on 43 points on Milwaukee's vaunted playoff defense, which is the most they've given up in any quarter, let alone the crucial fourth quarter, in the four years since Mike Budenholzer took over during the 2018-19 season. Since then they've played in 57 playoff games, which totals 228 quarters. Boston had the best one out of all of them.
The Celtics leave their mark on franchise history
The Boston Celtics are unequivocally one of the two most storied franchises in the NBA. They're tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most championships in league history at 17. They've also played in the second most playoff games ever with 683 total played. That's more than double, or even triple a handful of teams around the league.
That's what makes the history garnered by Boston's 43 points in the fourth quarter of Game 4 extra impressive. That total tied for the second most scored in any postseason quarter in franchise history.
The Celtics 43 pts in the 4th quarter is tied for the 2nd most points in a quarter in franchise postseason history.
The 84.2 FG% in the quarter is the best since 1996
— Max Lederman (@Max_Lederman) May 10, 2022
For a team that's had several championship runs featuring some legendary scorers, and a handful of memorable postseason performances, this current iteration of the Celtics pulled off a feat nearly never done in Celtics history.
Their series-shifting comeback in Game 4 would likely be forgotten if they end up losing the series. But if they take care of home-court advantage and advance past the Bucks en route to a potential Finals run, then fans can look back at this feat as one of much greater significance.