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Barca want to sign Coutinho permanently

Barcelona and Aston Villa are in talks to make Philippe Coutinho's loan to the Premier League club permanent, sources have confirmed to ESPN. (Author: Gardener)

BarcaAlejandro Moreno is considering whether Barcelona can maintain their quality of play next season. Can Xavi, Barcelona, ​​continue his form next season? Can Xavi, Barcelona, ​​continue his form next season? Barcelona and Aston Villa are in talks to make Philippe Coutinho's summer loan to the Premier League team permanent, various sources have confirmed to ESPN. Villa have an option to sign Coutinho for €40m at the end of the season but aren't willing to invest that much money. However, with manager Steven Gerrard keen on keeping Coutinho, the English club are looking to agree a reduced fee of around €20m with Barca. Coutinho, 29, accepted a pay cut to join Villa in January due to his desire to return playing football regularly had fallen down the pecking order under Barca coach Xavi Hernandez. At Villa Park he has scored four goals and provided three assists in 15 Premier League games under former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard. Barca broke their transfer record when they signed Coutinho from Liverpool in 2018 but now that there is one year left on his contract, they are ready to cut their losses at the player. Sources have told ESPN that the Catalan club are keen to finalize a deal with Villa before the end of June that would allow any fee to be included in the 2021-22 season's financial results. While Barca suffered a huge loss on transfer, Barca would be stripped of Coutinho's salary - one of the highest at the club - which would help them cope with the financial constraints imposed on them by LaLiga. The club's financial woes, as manager Xavi revealed on Monday, ruled them out from signing Erling Haaland, who will join Manchester City this week. However, sources at the club told ESPN that they are working to strengthen the squad this summer, with Xavi particularly keen on scoring more goals in attack. ESPN have previously revealed that deals have already been struck to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen and AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie on free transfers in the summer when their respective contracts expire.

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Barcelona win marred by Araujo's injury

MADRID, Spain (AFP) - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as Barcelona cemented second place in La Liga with a 3-1 home win over Celta Vigo on Tuesday. But Barca's win was... (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaMADRID, Spain (AFP) - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as Barcelona cemented second place in La Liga with a 3-1 home win over Celta Vigo on Tuesday. However, Barca's victory was marred by a serious head injury to defender Ronald Araujo, who had to be taken away by ambulance in the 64th minute of the game. Araujo was lifted into the ambulance on a stretcher wearing a neck brace. Barcelona confirmed the 23-year-old "suffered a concussion and was taken to hospital to undergo further tests". After the game, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez said: "The doctor told us he was conscious. He will spend the night in the hospital, but his life is not in danger. "The doctor said we shouldn't worry that he'll spend the night in hospital as a precaution, that's all." The Uruguayan was placed in the recovery position and minutes later was lifted into an ambulance that had pulled onto the field. Real Madrid, already crowned champions, sit nine points clear of Xavi Hernandez's side at the top of the table with a game in hand.

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Barca want to sign Coutinho permanently

Barcelona and Aston Villa are in talks to make Philippe Coutinho's loan to the Premier League club permanent, sources have confirmed to ESPN. (Author: Gardener)

BarcaAlejandro Moreno is considering whether Barcelona can maintain their quality of play next season. Can Xavi, Barcelona, ​​continue his form next season? Can Xavi, Barcelona, ​​continue his form next season? Barcelona and Aston Villa are in talks to make Philippe Coutinho's summer loan to the Premier League team permanent, various sources have confirmed to ESPN. Villa have an option to sign Coutinho for €40m at the end of the season but aren't willing to invest that much money. However, with manager Steven Gerrard keen on keeping Coutinho, the English club are looking to agree a reduced fee of around €20m with Barca. Coutinho, 29, accepted a pay cut to join Villa in January due to his desire to return playing football regularly had fallen down the pecking order under Barca coach Xavi Hernandez. At Villa Park he has scored four goals and provided three assists in 15 Premier League games under former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard. Barca broke their transfer record when they signed Coutinho from Liverpool in 2018 but now that there is one year left on his contract, they are ready to cut their losses at the player. Sources have told ESPN that the Catalan club are keen to finalize a deal with Villa before the end of June that would allow any fee to be included in the 2021-22 season's financial results. While Barca suffered a huge loss on transfer, Barca would be stripped of Coutinho's salary - one of the highest at the club - which would help them cope with the financial constraints imposed on them by LaLiga. The club's financial woes, as manager Xavi revealed on Monday, ruled them out from signing Erling Haaland, who will join Manchester City this week. However, sources at the club told ESPN that they are working to strengthen the squad this summer, with Xavi particularly keen on scoring more goals in attack. ESPN have previously revealed that deals have already been struck to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen and AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie on free transfers in the summer when their respective contracts expire.

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Barcelona win over Celta Vigo overshadowed by Ronald Araujo's head injury-Sports News, Firstpost

Defender Ronald Araujo had to be taken away by ambulance in the 64th minute of the game after colliding head-on with team-mate Gavi. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaDefender Ronald Araujo had to be taken away by ambulance in the 64th minute of the game after colliding head-on with team-mate Gavi. Defender Ronald Araujo had to be taken away by ambulance in the 64th minute of the game after colliding head-on with team-mate Gavi. Barcelona Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as Barcelona cemented second place in La Liga with a 3-1 home win over Celta Vigo on Tuesday. However, Barca's victory was marred by a serious head injury to defender Ronald Araujo, who had to be taken away by ambulance in the 64th minute of the game. Araujo was lifted into the ambulance on a stretcher wearing a neck brace. Barcelona confirmed the 23-year-old defender "suffered a concussion and was taken to hospital to undergo further tests". After the game, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez said: "The doctor told us that he is conscious. The doctor said not to worry that he will spend the night in hospital as a precaution, nothing more." Araujo continued to stumble and fell to the ground seconds later as a concerned Iago Aspas and Eric Garcia called urgently for the paramedics. The Uruguayan was placed in the recovery position and minutes later was lifted into an ambulance that had pulled onto the pitch.Before , Aubameyang's brace on either side of half-time came after Memphis Depay opened the scoring at the Camp Nou. Celta drew one back through Aspas but all hopes of a comeback were dashed when Jeison Murillo was sent off just before the hour mark. "We were effective but we didn't play well," said Xavi. Barca are seven points ahead of Sevilla and eight ahead of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Atletico play each other at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday. Real Madrid, already crowned champions, sit nine points ahead of Xavi Hernandez's side at the top of the table with a game in hand. They should take second place after another win that Aubameyang owed a lot to. The 32-year-old Gabonese has scored his 12th and 13th goals since joining Barcelona from Arsenal in January. Aubameyang's early electric form has slowed somewhat in recent weeks but it's hard to imagine a Barca player who has made a bigger contribution to their resurgence in the second half of the season. Depay's playing time has suffered from Aubameyang's form but both started against Celta and it was Depay who put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute after scoring a superb run down the right flank from Ousmane Dembele. Depay then became the assist for Aubameyang's first when he latched on to Jordi Alba's through ball and crossed to his Gabonese team-mate four minutes from half-time to finish in the turn. Three minutes into the restart it was three as Dembele repeated his earlier trick, going down right and rolling left, this time for the sprinting Aubameyang to steer into the corner. But eight minutes later, Murillo was sent off for preventing Depay from getting through and Celta's momentum was gone. Real Betis had previously kept their top-four hopes alive by earning a 3-0 win at Valencia. Willian Jose, Sergio Canales and Borja Iglesias all scored in the second half. Betis closed the gap to fourth-place Atletico Madrid to three points, with Atletico playing a game-in-hand game in Elche on Wednesday.

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Barcelona's Araújo leaves the field after suffering concussion while in ambulance

Araújo collapsed after colliding with Gavi Páez when both players went for a ball in the 61st minute against Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium. The defender seemed OK at first but went down after a few steps. (Author: Gardener)

AraújoBarcelona defender Ronald Araújo was taken off the field in an ambulance after colliding with a team-mate and collapsing on Tuesday. Barcelona defender Ronald Araújo was taken off the field in an ambulance after colliding with a team-mate and collapsing on Tuesday. The Uruguay defender "suffered a concussion and was taken to the hospital to undergo further tests," the club said on Twitter. Araújo collapsed after colliding with Gavi Páez when both players went for a ball in the 61st minute against Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium. The Barcelona and Celta players immediately called for medical attention and turned him onto his side. He was treated for almost eight minutes as doctors immobilized the defender before taking him to the ambulance. Gavi also required medical attention but was able to return to the game, which Barcelona won 3-1. "It's scary when something like that happens," said striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored two goals for Barcelona. Barcelona win after Araújo was sent off Barcelona took a step closer to second place in the Spanish league by beating 10-man Celta Vigo 3-1 on Tuesday. The game was suspended for almost eight minutes as Araújo received medical attention and the ambulance was rushed onto the field to take him to the hospital. "It looked bad at first when he was put on a stretcher," said Celta striker Iago Aspas. Memphis Depay put Barcelona ahead in the 30th minute and Aubameyang added to the lead in the 41st and 48th minutes. The goal came after Araújo misplayed a pass from goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, allowing Celta to steal the ball. Celta defender Jeison Murillo was sent off for a foul in the 58th to stop a Barcelona breakaway. The win left Barcelona seven points ahead of Sevilla ahead of their rivals' home game against relegation-threatened Mallorca on Wednesday. The Catalan club were eight points clear of fourth-placed Atlético Madrid, who visit Elche on Wednesday. Second place is important because it guarantees a place in the lucrative Spanish Supercup in Saudi Arabia. Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, left, celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, ​​Spain, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. has achieved. Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , left, celebrates after scoring his third goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, ​​Spain on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 team has scored. Real Betis beat Valencia 3-0 to end a four-game winning streak and keep their hopes alive of qualifying for next season's Champions League. Willian José, Sergio Canales and Borja Iglesias each scored in the second half to put fifth-placed Betis within three points of Atlético and four of city rivals Sevilla. Manuel Pellegrini's Betis have been close to the top for most of the season but recently lost ground as they focused on the final stages of the Copa del Rey. Their last four league games have seen two defeats and two draws, including a 2-1 home loss to Barcelona after conceding four minutes in added time. Betis last played in the Champions League in 2005/06 after finishing fourth in the Spanish league. It finished sixth in the league in two of the last four seasons, with the only title coming in 1934–35. "We can only win our last two games, even if we know that it will be difficult for the other teams to drop points." Granada defeated midfielder Athletic Bilbao 1-0 and moved ahead of the other games of the week five points from the relegation zone. Álex Collado scored a 35th-minute winner as 16th-placed Granada beat 18th-placed Mallorca 6-2. Granada are unbeaten in four games since a 4-1 home defeat by Levante in April. Athletic were one man down from 85th in eighth place after Mikel Vesga was sent off with a second yellow card.

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Dembele leaving Barcelona could open the door for a shock transfer

The Frenchman's future is still uncertain as no agreement has been reached on a contract extension. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaOusmane Dembele's future at Barcelona remains uncertain as the French forward's contract expired at the end of the 2021-22 season and a contract extension with the Catalan giants is yet to be agreed. The situation means Barcelona are 'watching the market' should a replacement be needed. One player who has appeared 'in orbit' from Barcelona is Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane, who is out of contract in 2023, as reported by Cope's Helena Condis. Mane's camp have confirmed that the Senegalese international "wants to play in Spain, either at Real Madrid or Barcelona" and think it may be time for a change of scenery after six years at Anfield. If Dembele leaves Barcelona at the end of the current season, striker Mane's departure could 'open the door' to the Camp Nou. However, Mane will only make a decision on his future after the Champions League final on Saturday 28 May. Barcelona manager Xavi was asked about the situation regarding Dembele ahead of his side's La Liga clash with Celta Vigo. The manager told a pre-match press conference that he still hopes Dembele will stay. “We have to adapt to an economic situation. He was unlucky in front of goal but he helped the team with his assists," he said. The club knows my ideas for the next season, talks have to be held. I think he can help us. Dembele has been a regular for Barcelona in 2022 after managing to shake off his injury woes. The striker is currently tied with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema at the top of the La Liga assists chart in 11 of 19 games. Meanwhile, talks are ongoing over contract extensions between Barcelona and Dembele's camp, as reported by Mundo Deportivo. The Catalans are looking for an 'economic situation' that is compatible with the club's financial constraints and also appeals to the striker. Barcelona may not be the only club interested in Mane, who has played a key role in Liverpool's success under Jurgen Klopp. The Senegalese international has won the Premier League, Champions League, League Cup and Club World Cup during his time with the Reds. Mane's form has also caught the interest of Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, as reported by Sky Deutschland. The forward is said to be unhappy that Liverpool have focused on team-mate Mohamed Salah's contract extension. Both players are out of contract next year and Liverpool will certainly be keen to keep the duo once again finding themselves in the midst of productive campaigns. Salah is the Premier League's top scorer with 22 goals, 8 ahead of Mane, who has 14 goals in the English top flight. READ MORE: Barcelona striker close to sale for €20m: report

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Barcelona star cut off in ambulance after scary collision

The youngster suffered a head injury in a clash with teammate Gavi at the Camp Nou. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaBarcelona defender Ronald Araujo was dropped off in an ambulance after sustaining a head injury in his side's La Liga clash with Celta Vigo on Tuesday, May 10, after a nasty headbutt with team-mate Gavi had come. The two players clashed while jumping for the same ball just after the hour mark at the Camp Nou, with Barcelona leading the game 3-1. The defender was treated on the pitch and then taken straight to the hospital in an ambulance, ESPN's Samuel Marsden revealed. Gavi was cleared to continue but Araujo was replaced by defender Clement Lenglet. Barcelona then confirmed that the defender suffered a concussion and will undergo further tests at the hospital. Xavi's side secured a 3-1 win against Celta after Araujo's departure. Players appeared affected by the incident, which saw 11 minutes of added time played at the end of the game. Barca took the lead in the first half when Ousmane Dembele produced a brilliant nutmeg and Memphis Depay scored the opening goal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then doubled the hosts' lead just before half-time. Dembele then produced his second assist of the evening to make it 3-0 for Barca early in the second half. The Frenchman put the ball on a plate for Aubameyang to score his 11th LaLiga goal of the season. Barca substitute Riqui Puig got the ball into the net in the second half but saw his shot ruled out for offside. With the win, Barca consolidate their second place ahead of the final two games of the season against Getafe and Villarreal. Celta Vigo had already secured La Liga status for next season by beating Alaves 4-0 last time out. Meanwhile, Araujo's injury will add to Barcelona's defensive woes. The Catalans are already without Gerard Pique and Sergino Dest through injuries with both players expected to miss the rest of the season. Eric Garcia will also miss Barcelona's next game after receiving his fifth booking of the season against Celta. Frenkie de Jong and Jordi Alba also received bookings late in the game, meaning the duo will miss the game along with Garcia. In defence, Xavi may only have Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti and Oscar Mingueza as his only fit centre-backs for the game at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. All three players have been battling for playing time in 2021-22 after falling down the pecking order.

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3 things we learned from Celtics-Bucks Game 4 on Monday

The Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 116-108 away in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series on Monday to level that series 2-2 before heading back to Boston. (Author: Gardener)

MondayThis Eastern Conference Semifinals series between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks has been a fantastic series so far. In Game 4 on Monday we had another spectacular game as the Celtics came back from a 7 point deficit in the fourth quarter and defeated the Bucks 116-108 away. Jayson Tatum had a great bounce back game with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but how about Al Horford in that game? Be sure to raise a glass to Horford as 30 points and 8 rebounds in 42 minutes for a 35 year old is extremely impressive! Because of their strength and intensity on the defensive end of the floor, Boston was able to come from behind on Monday night to steal Game 4, end that streak 2-2, and suddenly we have a "best-of-3" scenario that takes us was presented. Milwaukee haven't looked like a dominant self with Khris Middleton on the touchline, and now they face a tough task as they try to regain the lead in this series on the road. Khris Middleton is such an important part of the Milwaukee Bucks offensively because he sometimes acts as a "security blanket" due to his ability to parry shots from anywhere on the floor. For them, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the aggressive player and “attacker” on offense, Jrue Holiday is the facilitator and Khris Middleton ties everything together. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were gassed at the end of the game after they both played 41 minutes and the Celtics looked like they could last another 5-10 minutes! Fatigue is starting to catch up with the Bucks' stars considering what they've had to do this series, and in Game 4, Antetokounmpo and Holiday accounted for nearly 58% of the team's total shot attempts. Someone will have to step in for Milwaukee in this series to progress, especially since Khris Middleton is likely to be out for at least another week. Father Time catches up to every athlete at some point in their career, but Al Horford shut the door on him in Game 4! Horford looked like his old All-Star self when he was with the Atlanta Hawks years ago when he scored 30 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had a monster dunk on Giannis Antetokounmpo... Yes, you read that right. Horford steps up when it matters most and he was fantastic in that series against Milwaukee. In four games, Horford averaged 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and he has shot 14-28 (50%) from three-point range. With three double-doubles in four games, Al Horford was the most influential player in this Eastern Conference semifinals series. In four games in that series, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday combined have accounted for nearly 58% of the Bucks' total shots in that series. Giannis averages 39.8 minutes per game and Holiday averages 38.9 minutes per game against Boston. Everything the Bucks do on offense flows through Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is fine, but they'll need to bring others on board if Milwaukee is to survive this series without Khris Middleton. As mentioned, the Bucks' depth didn't play that well, but at the same time, Holiday and Antetokounmpo struggled to incorporate them. In his two wins against the Celtics, Milwaukee has averaged 21.0 assists per game. That "hero ball" mindset of playing one-on-one with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday all the time didn't work for the Bucks, much like it didn't work for the Dallas Mavericks in their series against the Phoenix Suns. Luka Doncic is a great player for the Mavericks, but they lost the first two games of their streak by solely giving him the ball to make every possession one-on-one on offense. Now with others interfering and Doncic moving the ball, the Mavericks have won back-to-back games against the Suns to even reach their Western Conference Semifinals series. Taking notes from Dallas is something the Bucks really should be doing offensively given they are a very similar team with Khris Middleton. Giannis Antetokounmpo is an elite goalscorer and Jrue Holiday is a great free goalscorer, but these two alone can't turn the team on its back and beat arguably the best defensive team in the league, the Celtics. Getting others involved is vital for the Bucks in this series, and in Game 4, the two Milwaukee All-Stars attempt to put all the burden of winning that game on their backs, ultimately leading to their loss.

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Horford's career night shouldn't overshadow Tatum's exploits

Al Horford's career night put the Celtics in a position to win Game 4 in Milwaukee. But as our John Tomase writes, Jayson Tatum has come the distance in a way that has shown he can really get closer to a championship-level team. (Author: Gardener)

HorfordTeams don't win championships without brilliant upfront performances, and Al Horford certainly delivered with the playoff game of a lifetime in Milwaukee on Monday night. However, Horford's artistry only got the Celtics out the door. This is where the even bigger development took place: Jayson Tatum stepped in. Horford deserves every bit of credit for a monster 30-point night, especially after writing what could be this series' signature moment as he dug in on Giannis Antetokounmpo and then KO'd the two-time MVP while on the landing bows. The Celtics were yet to bury the defending champions, and there Tatum emerged as the closing force after the worst playoff performance of his career. Tatum made six shots in the last six minutes, making five. He scored 10 points in a crucial two-minute stretch when every goal was a must. It's the kind of performance that harks back to legends of the Celtics past, from John Havlicek to Larry Bird to Paul Pierce, who all knew how to say, "Not today." With the game on the line, everyone in the building knew the ball was going to Tatum and the defending champion couldn't stop it. That's called a response, not just to the immediate circumstances of crunch time, but in the bigger picture after his miserable Game 3. It's a classic case of a superstar rising in the moment, and it offers a legitimate path for a team to use Championship ambitions to really win everything. "I played a terrible game in Game 3 and we almost had a chance to win," Tatum said in his post-game press conference. I was dying to get back and ready to play whether it scored or not, I just came out and just played better on both ends of the floor. "On Saturday, Tatum cost the Celtics with an unusually lackluster performance. He shot 4 of 19 and scored just 10 points in a 103-101 loss. Outside of four blocks, he didn't affect the game exactly anywhere. In addition to his 30 points in Game 4 Tatum grabbed 13 rebounds, many of them in traffic.He remained committed even when he didn't score early.Played with Grant Williams in terrible trouble and Horford, who was tiring of the incredible burden he was carrying at both ends Tatum strong defense against Celtics too: 'The Al Horford Game' - Celtics stun Buck's tie Series | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube The Greek freak may be more explosive, but Tatum's dividing line is that he can score from anywhere on the ground short on the verge of going supernova and he knew it "I had 12 minutes left to put my stamp on this game and try to help us win," he said I always believe that the next shot will go in. They trust me to make the right play and that's what I'm trying to do Lane, Tatum took over. He drove the lane and finished three defenders with his left hand. He plowed his chest straight through overwhelmed veteran George Hill for a three-point game that increased the lead to seven. Grayson Allen gave the Bucks a final flare of a life with a 3-pointer with three minutes remaining at 106-99. Tatum then showed Giannis-like footwork to step through a doubles team and land a falling right-handed scoop from the left block. In less than two minutes, he had scored 10 points to keep the Bucks at bay. This is how a Superstar should end a game - efficiently, unstoppably, ruthlessly. And make no mistake, Jayson Tatum is a superstar. The Celtics certainly won't progress without input from their role players, but they're not even in the conversation without Tatum. They knock on Banner 18's door and Tatum is ready to take down this sucker.

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Pivotal Game 5s on tap for Bucks-Celtics, Warriors-Grizzlies

Al Horford reached a level of his game during the playoffs that many thought he lost at the age of 35. It reached a new high in Game 4 during the Celtics' 116-108 win over the Bucks on Monday night. The five-time All-Star scored 16 of his playoff career-best 30 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston tie the Eastern Conference semifinals series with the defending NBA champion in two games apiece. (Author: Gardener)

Bucks-CelticsAl Horford of the Boston Celtics reacts during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA Basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, Monday, May 9, 2022, in Milwaukee. Al Horford reached a level of his game during the playoffs that many thought he lost at the age of 35. It reached a new high in Game 4 during the Celtics' 116-108 win over the Bucks on Monday night. The five-time All-Star scored 16 of his playoff career-best 30 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston tie the Eastern Conference semifinals series with the defending NBA champion in two games apiece. Equally important, the Celtics regained home field advantage as the series returns to Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday. Horford said he feels he is reaping the fruits of an offseason that has focused on getting him ready to play meaningful games again. Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo rebounds in front of Boston Celtics' Grant Williams during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA Basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series Monday, May 9, 2022 in Milwaukee. The Celtics won 116-108 to tie the series 2-2. The Celtics won 116-108 to tie the series 2-2. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (AP Photo/Morry Gash) "It comes from sitting at home," Horford said. "It comes from watching the playoffs, not knowing what my future would hold, and really just hoping to have the opportunity to be in an environment like that." The resurgence coincided with Boston's needing someone , who rose after big man Robert Williams III was sidelined for the second time this postseason and sat out Game 4 with pain in his surgically repaired left knee. After missing an opportunity to take a 3-1 lead, Bucks guard Wesley Matthews said there was no time to sulk. It's bloody hard," he said. "At the same time, you can't keep your head too high, you can't keep your head low at all, and you have to rebound." The Golden State Warriors travel to Memphis and need a win for the first time since 2019 to reach the Western Conference Finals. Then they lost in the NBA Finals before missing the last two postseasons. Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant looks on from the bench in the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of an NBA basketball Western Conference playoff semifinals in San Francisco, Monday, May 9, 2022. Morant was injured and did not play. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) "Wednesday will be the hardest yet," Thompson said. We need to put that behind us and put a good game plan in place.” The Grizzlies are waiting to see if they have a chance of getting Ja Morant back, the NBA's most-improved player and All-Star Guard, who has averaged a 38.3 this series points per game but sat out Game 4 with a right knee injury. Even without Morant, Memphis still led to 45.7 seconds in Game 4 before Golden State rallied for a 101-98 win and secured a 3-1 lead in the series. It was the first time Memphis has been held below 100 points this postseason, and now the Grizzlies are returning home and trying to push that series back to San Francisco for Game 6 on Friday. "We're back home," said Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. It's going to be loud, so we're excited to get back home and go play again, man. We have another chance to play. You are a good team. Of course we know how the game went. — NEED TO KNOW: After dropping the series opener at home, Boston is back at the TD Garden with a chance to bring defending champion Bucks to the brink of elimination. The Celtics are 3-1 at home this postseason and continue to find ways to frustrate Giannis Antetokounmpo late in games. The Bucks have been outplayed in three of their four games in the last 12 minutes, including 43-28 in Game 4. The only time it hasn't cost them was their 103-101 win in Game 3. -- INJURY OBSERVATION: Said they Celtic's Williams is questionable with left knee pain... Bucks forward Khris Middleton (sprained left knee) stays out. - PRINTING IS ON: The Bucks. With reinforcements unlikely to come in the form of Middleton's return, Antetokounmpo will need the best of his remaining supporting cast to avoid going down 3-2. - FUN FACTS: Golden State is 43-24 all-time in winning games and 19-8 since 2015. The Warriors are also 12-3 in Game 5 since 2015. Brooks returned after his one-game suspension for the foul that caused Gary Payton II with a broken left elbow, returned to Memphis. But Brooks has struggled to shoot -- 8 of 35 from the floor and 4 of 18 from 3-point range in this series. He missed a 26-footer who could have extended Memphis' lead in the last minute and potentially helped the Grizzlies to a dismal victory. Thompson fought almost as hard; The Warriors Guard is 9 of 35 in this series from 3-point range. -- INJURY OBSERVATION: Golden State coach Steve Kerr missed Game 4 after testing positive for COVID-19 Monday night. The Warriors say Brown is expected to coach Game 5. Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said Morant will be evaluated further back in Memphis and the status of the keeper for Game 5 "to be determined." If Morant stays on the bench, then three times NBA champions are expected to complete this series. Walker, Steve Megargee, and AP freelance writer Jim Hoehn contributed to this report.

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