4 things to watch out for before Game 6 between the Grizzlies and Warriors

The hits are coming for the Warriors, the Grizzlies need to do it again and there are more things to watch ahead of Game 6 in this Western Conference Semifinals. (Author: Gardener)

Game 6At times, both teams played suffocating defense. Both teams kept it exciting the whole time. At this point, who knows what to expect when the Golden State Warriors host the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of their second round matchup at the Chase Center on Friday (10:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)? As the Warriors took a 3-2 lead, we saw thrills like the Warriors' narrow wins in Game 1 (117-116) and Game 4 (101-98). We've seen blowouts, like the Warriors' loss in Game 3 (142-112) and the Grizzlies' dominance in Game 5 (134-95). We've seen disputes amid the physical game and the lobbying that followed. Below are four things to watch in Game 6: The Warriors said coach Steve Kerr will be out Thursday until further notice while he recovers from COVID-19, making Mike Brown the acting head coach for the third straight season . Warriors reserve forward Otto Porter Jr. also missed the entire second half of Game 5 with right foot pain, forcing the Warriors to consider him a Game 6 questionable. "I have 100% faith in our team," Brown said. The Warriors seem aware of the danger of feeling content with a 3-1 lead in series. Since their first NBA championship in this hard-fought run in 2015, the Warriors have won in the deciding games of the series 19-9 and in the sixth games 6-2. They have gone 12-1 in playoff games that Brown has coached. And they've won all five home playoff games this year. The Warriors don't have Kevin Durant and a fully developed bench like they have in most of their previous title runs. While the Warriors praised the atmosphere at Chase Center, it didn't quite capture the energy they enjoyed at Oracle Arena. And the Grizzlies' 4-11 record in eliminations seems irrelevant given that the team's current group has only played in two of them. Still, the Warriors have a handful of stars (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green) and a head coach (Brown) who have already faced much tougher challenges. Curry said, "We're still in control of the series." It doesn't help the Grizzlies that their star point guard is out for a third straight game with a bruised right knee. Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins thought it was "pretty unlikely" that Morant would ever return to the playoffs. Despite this, the Grizzlies have shown remarkable resilience without him. They went 20-5 in the regular season while Morant was sidelined with numerous injuries. Against the Warriors, the Grizzlies showed how they can both fight (Game 4) and thrive (Game 5) without Morant. "We know how to play together better than any team in the NBA," said Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks. “We're constantly finding ways to keep up in our game. So it's just fun to play that style.” Technically, Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones has taken Morant's position. But Jones emphasized that "I can't fill his shoes alone". Instead, the Grizzlies have established a 10-man rotation that meets different needs. And Steven Adams turned out to be a game changer in this series, having played no role at all. Specifically against the Warriors, Morant's absence coincided with Jenkins starting Adams in the middle. Jenkins refrained from playing Adams much in the team's first-round matchup against Minnestoa because of Karl-Anthony Towns' versatility as a post player and outside shooter. Adams then stayed sidelined for Games 1 and 2 after testing positive for COVID-19. Since then, the Warriors have become less dominant in the suit, while Adams has proven effective at defending pick and rolls and avoiding situations where he stretches to the rim. "The ball is in a lot of people's hands and a lot of people are attacking from different angles," Brown said of the Grizzlies without Morant. “Even Adams has it on the elbow and is playing the split game. The warriors would much rather deal with this problem than face Morant again. The Grizzlies wanted that luxury. But during his absence, the Grizzlies have shown they can play well without Morant while he's rooting for them from the bench, including when the Grizzlies' game ops threw the "Whoop Dat Trick" quips during the Game 5 loss. anthem played. "He has a great spirit with his teammates in the locker room," Jenkins said of Morant. He talks about things - adjustments and ideas from his teammates in the game. A quick look at the box score revealed all about why the Grizzlies survived a 39-point victory in Game 5. They dominated the Warriors on the boards (55-37) and won the turnover bout (22-9). The Warriors beat the Grizzlies on the glass in the four other contests while remaining sloppy with their ball handling in every game of that series. This gives both the Warriors and Grizzlies two obvious areas to focus on in Game 6. "We've got to try to nurture the ball a little bit better and not be on home run passes all the time," Brown said, "And start taking action early in the game until we can get to our space and tempo game. "We have to put body on body," Brown said. How the warriors get there might be more complicated. The Warriors lived with the turnovers because of their offensive brilliance. But they compensated for that on the boards with two different approaches: when the Grizzlies initially seeded Adams, the Warriors went with a small lineup calling on everyone to smash the glass in hopes of maximizing transition opportunities; After injuring Gary Payton II's left elbow in Game 2, the Warriors have started rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga in the last three games, hoping his athleticism could offset his learning curve. That didn't happen in Game 5, leading Brown to play Nemanja Bjelica in the second half of Game 5 hoping his length would help. Brown sounded noncommittal on trying a different rotation, or at least experimenting more with smaller lineups. But with the Warriors nursing an injured center (James Wiseman) and two wingers (Iguodala, Porter), the Warriors may get creative. And the grizzlies? Jenkins said, "We're going to need that effort to level up, execution to level up and urgency to level up." Poole just hasn't been the same in the last two games. The reasons have less to do with Jenkins indirectly blaming him for hurting Morant. They have more to do with the Grizzlies putting more pressure on Poole. Poole shot poorly in Game 4 (14 points on 4-on-12 shooting, 0-on-3 from deep) and Game 5 (three points on 1-on-6 shooting, 1-on-3 on 3 ). That was a steady decline from what Poole showed in Game 1 (31 points in 12-for-20 shooting, 5-for-10 from deep) in Game 2 (20 points in 8-for-16 shooting ), 1 of -6 from 3) and in Game 3 (13 points in 11v17 shooting, 3v5 from deep). "It's tough because part of JP's game is his ability to get to the edge and his speed," Brown said. It was a little bit difficult with the way they plugged the paint.” Poole had a similar journey in the Warriors' first-round series against Denver. After promising numbers in Game 1 (30 points on 9-of-13 shooting), Game 2 (29 points on 10-of-16 shooting), and Game 3 (27 points on 9-of-13 shooting), Poole went just 3 of 10 from the field in both games 4 and 5. "We just want him to be aggressive, play freely and confidently like he's more than capable," Brown said. "If he does that, it's great for us."


Bucks vs. Celtics Playoff Schedule TV Live Stream for 2022 Eastern Conference NBA Playoff Semifinals Series

The Milwaukee Bucks play the Boston Celtics in a 2022 Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series. (Author: Gardener)

2022The Milwaukee Bucks play the Boston Celtics in a 2022 Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a triple double in the Bucks' Game 1 playoff win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The winner plays the Miami Heat or the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 1: Sunday, May 1, noon at TD Garden in Boston (ABC); Score: Bucks 101, Celtics 89; Bucks lead series 1-0. Game 3: Saturday, May 7, 2:30 p.m. at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee (ABC); Result: Bucks 103, Celtics 101; Bucks lead series, 2-1. Game 4: Monday, May 9, 6:30 p.m. at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee (TNT); Result: Celtics 116, Bucks 108; Series tied, 2-2. Game 5: Wednesday, May 11, 6 p.m. at TD Garden in Boston (TNT); Result: Bucks 110, Celtics 107; Bucks lead series, 3-2. Game 6: Friday, May 13, 6:30 p.m., at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee (ESPN) Live Stream: ABC or ESPN App. Available on Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV STREAM and YouTube TV. Celtics Odds, NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal Playoff Series Predictions This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bucks vs


In a series of swings, the Bucks and Celtics try to find the next pivotal moment

Clutch moments have defined a streak separated by only a few key moments in the five games so far. (Author: Gardener)

fiveMILWAUKEE -- The last time Giannis Antetokounmpo laced up his sneakers for a Game 6 at home to wrap up a playoff series, a refrain of "Bucks in Six!" Boomed through the Fiserv Forum, good things happened for the Milwaukee Bucks. Two hundred and ninety-seven days have passed since the Bucks had the Phoenix Suns in the same spot they now have the Boston Celtics. Back in July, two stunning defensive plays in separate games made for one of the greatest individual performances in a crucial final game. There was Antetokounmpo's late block from Suns center Deandre Ayton that helped seal Game 4, followed by Jrue Holiday's swipe of Devin Booker's ball and a bold alley-oop pass to Milwaukee's high-flying Greek Freak that clinched the win. It then fell to Antetokounmpo to wipe out the Suns and give the Bucks franchise its second NBA championship, 50 years after the first. He scored 50 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked five shots, hit 16 of his 25 total shots and shot 17-19 on free throws as Milwaukee won 105-98. He left Phoenix with little or no margin that night, earning the Finals MVP award while earning his team respect as the "Defending Champion" for a full season. That status is now on the line as the Bucks lead 3-2 in their Eastern Conference semifinals series against Boston. No one expects Antetokounmpo to summon a repeat of his 50-point performance on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) to propel his team into the East Finals against Miami. But the setup feels eerily similar, thanks to a couple of stunning defensive plays to create that opportunity for the Bucks and predicament for the Celtics. Holiday turned Boston guard Marcus Smart — coincidentally the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year — into his 2022 version of Booker. Holiday's 3-point high arc shot had leveled Game 5 at 105-105 by 42 seconds, erasing what remained of Milwaukee's 14-point deficit early in the fourth quarter. But at the other end, Holiday won the game 30 seconds later. As Boston brought in the ball 11.4 seconds from the end, 108-107 behind, Holiday came by at helping defender and unconsciously caught Smart and blocked his driving layup on the right baseline. In one fell swoop, the Bucks keeper got the block, held the ball back, kept him and himself from going wide, and when he ran out of tightrope, instinctively threw the ball wide from Smart. After Milwaukee's Pat Connaughton made two free throws, the Celtics had no time out and one final chance by 5.9 seconds. They got to Smart only for Holiday to rush past and steal the ball, a carousel rider who snatched the brass ring. "We don't have time to think about how we lost," Smart said afterwards. It definitely hurts, but we don't have time to feel it.” Instead of playing Game 6 with house money, a chance to close the Bucks with the knowledge that they still have Game 7 on TD Garden Sunday if needed, have to the Celtics are recovering from that heartthrob - and recovering overall, particularly on the offensive glass - only to necessitate a Sunday game. Jayson Tatum has been fully activated, the vaunted Boston defense has sought almost every point from Antetokounmpo and the rest, 'old man' Horford has lost five years of his game and it's possible that Celtics big man Robert Williams III , after two lost games could return to knee pain. For the Bucks, as dramatically as the Game 5 win turned in their favor, they know Boston controlled things down to the last few minutes. All-star forward Khris Middleton is out (sprained knee), Holiday turned volume shooter out of necessity and Antetokounmpo has been gasping for air in the last quarter of almost every game. So the Bucks are under pressure, too, knowing that if they don't shut down the Celtics now, they'll have to go back to Boston and try again. It was Portis who, after a poor performance in Game 4 (he went back on the court before the lights went out to put in extra shots), set his team up for the good Wednesday, snapping Antetokounmpo's missed free throw on an 11:4 putback the clickers. He was 3-for-13 at this point but finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and a reminder of what matters most now when game plans are exhausted and players pretty much are too. "The playoffs are all about moments," Portis said. For me we have a lot of guys in this team who can have moments. Get ready for a few moments in Game 6.


Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, Brandon Jennings and others react to the Bucks' huge comeback win over the Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Playoff Series

Here's how social media reacted to the Bucks' comeback win over the Celtics, including Jrue Holiday's two big defensive plays in the final seconds. (Author: Gardener)

BucksHow about this comeback, Bucks fans? The Milwaukee Bucks lost 14 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Boston Celtics 110-107 in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series on Wednesday night. May 11, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis (9) reacts after defeating the Boston Celtics in game five of the second round for the 2022 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports The Bucks can end the Celtics in Game 6 on Friday in Milwaukee. Here are instant social media reactions to the game, including Jrue Holiday's two big defensive plays in the final seconds, as well as a bloody Giannis Antetokounmpo. Please enjoy the last 42 seconds of the game. - Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 12, 2022 #Bucks with an incredible 4th quarter comeback to defeat the #Celtics - Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) 12 May 12, 2022 The REAL Defensive Player of the Year - Sam Kuffel (@SamKuffelWx) May 12, 2022 - Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) May 12, 2022 Giannis just pulled off a Lebron James-type performance in the backyard . Giannis is bleeding after being accidentally hit by Pat Connaughton. - NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 12, 2022 Let's just call this series the NBA Finals. — Bucks Lead (@BucksLead) May 12, 2022 See you Friday. 🔥 #FearTheDeer - Deer District (@DeerDistrict) May 12, 2022 More: Bucks vs. Celtics Playoff Schedule TV Live Stream for 2022 Eastern Conference NBA Playoff Semifinal Series Contact Christopher Kuhagen at 262-446-6634 or at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ckuhagen and our newsroom Instagram accounts at MyCommunityNow and Lake Country Now. This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, Brandon Jennings and others react to the Bucks' huge comeback win over the Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Playoff Series


The FA Cup's struggle for relevance

The FA Cup has become more predictable in recent years, with some top teams almost always winning it - but it's still important for some clubs (Author: Gardener)

The FA Cup'sJurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel found common ground writing their program notes ahead of the FA Cup final at Wembley. The two Germans in charge of Liverpool and Chelsea have chosen to lovingly highlight the history and traditions of the competition. In its 150th year, the FA Cup still seems to inspire. "For the avoidance of doubt I absolutely love this competition," writes Klopp, who was an FA Cup finalist for the first time since becoming Liverpool manager in 2015. "The tradition and the ceremonial aspect of the FA Cup final that you kick off the minutes before does something to you," said Tuchel, who oversaw Chelsea's 1-0 defeat by Leicester City in last season's final. "At that point you feel the occasion even more and at some moments I'm not sure I would even be able to play the game because you're suddenly feeling so emotional." Klopp and Tuchel, two shrewd figureheads at their clubs, might be expected to say the right things at moments like these, but – if you take them at their word – it's Saturday's final that counts. For two clubs used to coveting Premier League titles and chasing Champions League crowns, the FA Cup continues to face an uncomfortable battle for relevance. It may not face the same immediate threats as the EFL Cup, a knockout competition the home elite would happily sacrifice, but this grand old trophy is struggling to quicken pulses the way it once did. In the 21st century there are greater fortunes for clubs to pursue. The FA Cup will always have that charm and nostalgia to attract newcomers like Klopp and Tuchel, but its slipping down the priority list for England's biggest clubs is undeniable. The FA has done its utmost to restore the faded glory of its flagship competition, allocating £25million to its participants every year. Thanks to sponsorship deals and the sale of international TV rights, the prize money was an all-time high - just over £3.4m for the winners of each season. It also offers a direct route to the Europa League group stage and onward to the promise of further riches from UEFA. The FA Cup remains a competition worth winning, but in a season where Manchester City rested several influential players for their semi-final against Liverpool last month, we're regularly reminded that there's usually something more important there that requires focus. Club owners also have very different priorities. Louis van Gaal and Antonio Conte won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 2016 and Chelsea in 2018 but were both sacked within weeks of those triumphs. The failure of Champions League qualification in those same seasons crowned their epitaphs. A flagship final like Chelsea v Liverpool can convince us otherwise, but the FA Cup has increasingly become a competition that matters most to the clubs who are unlikely to ever come close to winning it. From grassroots to elite and everything in between, 729 clubs were represented in this year's FA Cup. Almost all of them have benefited financially, with some earning seven-figure sums. One such club is fifth-tier National League side Boreham Wood, whose valiant run to the last 16 was eventually ended by Premier League side Everton at Goodison Park in February. "The memories we made from that FA Cup run will all go with us to our graves," Boreham Wood CEO Charlie Hunter told The Athletic. "As a competition it still means everything for clubs at our level." The challenges facing the FA Cup are nothing new. The advent of the Premier League in 1992 began a transformation in English football, for better or for worse, slowly losing the value of a knockout competition that had previously defined entire seasons. Even if the FA Cup had some revered silverware to offer, there was suddenly so much more to be won elsewhere. There is a generation of fans who will be unfamiliar with the central role the FA Cup Final once played in British society. Hours of terrestrial television were devoted to preparations for Cup Final day, with helicopters following a team's coach journey from their hotel to Wembley Stadium. Richard Whitehead's new book, The Cup, notes that the cup final grandstand started at 11.25am on BBC One ahead of the 1969 final, Manchester City's 1-0 win over Leicester City. Viewership for the replay of the 1970 FA Cup final between Leeds United and Chelsea at Old Trafford is said to have peaked at 28 million, roughly half the country as a whole. FA Cup Final songs recorded by the players of the two Wembley clubs routinely became hits. Written by veteran rockers Status Quo, Manchester United's Come On You Reds topped the UK Singles Chart for two weeks, around the time Sir Alex Ferguson's side swept past Chelsea 4-0 in the 1994 final. United's failure to defend the trophy they won as part of their treble in 1999 due to their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup, held in Brazil when the third round was played at home in 1999-2000, inflicted particular reputational damage to . As early as 2010, there were discussions within the FA hierarchy about scrapping replays and staging midweek draws instead of weekend ones. The introduction of the Premier League winter break in 2020 caused the calendar to become congested and it was the FA Cup that lost ground. Fifth round ties (last 16) were controversially played on weekdays, with no replays occurring from this stage of the competition. The COVID-19 pandemic meant third and fourth round replays have also been suspended this season, denying lower-division clubs a chance to earn lucrative second bites from top-flight opponents. The FA intends to see Rounds 3 and 4 replays next season after pandemic restrictions are lifted. The FA Cup had no choice but to move with the times in this era of financial thirst. The commercial deal was reportedly worth £10m a season to the FA and is set to run until at least 2024. The most valuable deal struck recently was for the overseas broadcasting rights of the competition. The original six-year partnership, which began in 2018-19, is said to be worth £820million. The FA proudly said they will "ensure the status of the FA Cup as the original and greatest domestic cup competition in the world". Delays to matches during the pandemic have brought unwanted headaches and late payments, but the international and domestic rights packages currently held jointly by BBC and ITV, the UK's two major free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters, ensure that clubs can match annual revenues can still top up FA Cup run. As well as winning £110,000 for each match selected for live TV broadcast, a relay can net eventual winners of the competition up to £3.4m and runners-up £2.5m - far more than the £100,000 cheque among the winners of this year's EFL Cup, but still not as much as two places up in the Premier League. That doesn't mean the FA Cup doesn't matter anymore. Last season's final, which saw Leicester upset eventual Champions League winners Chelsea, was watched by a peak audience of 9.1 million in the UK alone, with just 10,000 fans returning to Wembley due to COVID-19 spectator rules were allowed. 23 of the last 26 FA Cup finals have been won by either Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool or Manchester City. Many smaller clubs have reached finals since the turn of the century, including Hull City, Stoke City, Cardiff City and Millwall, but only Portsmouth (2008) and Wigan Athletic (2013) have joined Leicester in breaking a pattern that has spanned almost three decades. The romance usually fizzles out long before the action reaches Wembley for the semi-finals and final. Nine different clubs have won the final in nine years from 1972, including three from the second division. Even in the 1980s, when there were seven different winners, the nation was captivated by the victories of Coventry City in 1987 and Wimbledon a year later. There used to be a greater sense of unpredictability in the FA Cup, but since Wigan beat Manchester City in 2013, a week before being relegated to the Championship, perhaps there hasn't been a final that really surprised. A Liverpool-Chelsea final, a repeat of the 2012 showpiece, is sure to gain international traction, at least. The FA say 49 different countries watched last season's final with broadcast partners on every continent. The move to a late afternoon or evening kick-off on Saturday, with this year's game starting at 16:45 UK time, is also a nod to a growing US market. Since 2011, the FA Cup final has not kicked off at its once-traditional 3pm date. The 2021-22 FA Cup started before Premier League teams had kicked a ball this season. Friday 6 August was the day that the additional preliminary round began, the first of six qualifying rounds that non-league clubs had to go through before reaching the first round proper. The prize money starts from the first games (£1,125 for the winners) and goes up to £9,375 for each club that qualifies for the first round and a chance at clubs from League 1 and 2. The EFL Cup, first played in 1960 and currently sponsored by Carabao, is for the 92 EFL and Premier League clubs only and offers no such facilities. Among the biggest FA Cup stories of the season was Boreham Wood beating local rivals Barnet, then Eastleigh, St Albans and AFC Wimbledon to reach the fourth round for the first time in their history. And then came AFC Bournemouth, a side that would be promoted to the Premier League four months later. A famous 1-0 win at Vitality Stadium ensured the adventure was extended into a round of 16 away game against Premier League club and five-time FA Cup winners Everton, a match televised live across the UK was transferred. Two goals from Salomon Rondon in the second half marked the end of the road with a 2-0 defeat but Boreham Wood captured the enduring charm of the FA Cup. "The financial benefits cannot be underestimated as they have been tremendous for our club post COVID," said Chief Executive Hunter. It felt like winning the lottery.” Amidst the romance are the realities of what an FA Cup run can do for those further down the pyramid. Lincoln City, then in the top tier outside the league, reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 2017/18 and earned enough to cover the £1.1million cost of a new training ground. They have since won promotion to the EFL and reached the League One play-off final a year ago. That season, sixth-tier National League North side Kidderminster Harriers scored in extra time against West Ham United who would go on to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, live on British terrestrial television. They are estimated to have banked £1.3million in their run to that fourth-round tie. The National League Chesterfield were another beneficiary, securing an estimated £300,000 from their third round draw against Chelsea, who added the Club World Cup to their Champions League title a month after that game. “It was around £540,000 from prize money and TV money and probably raised more than £1m for the club in total,” says Hunter. “It's important to curtail that by saying we just got through COVID and there's a black hole to fill. But there is also an opportunity to invest in the club's infrastructure to move forward.” FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham has strongly dismissed any suggestion that the FA Cup has lost any of its magic. "Despite its incredible longevity, we firmly believe the FA Cup has never felt more relevant," said Bullingham. "Its values ​​of hope, opportunity and equality uplift the clubs, communities and fans of the teams that compete each year." Boreham Wood, Kidderminster and Chesterfield were testament to that, but there are also the uncomfortable truths that cannot be overlooked - the poor attendances in the third and fourth rounds, the apathy shown by some of the mediocre Premier League clubs and promotion-chasers the Championship, the first-choice players are resting for these draws. The FA Cup is struggling to convey the same value as its equivalent in women's football, where for the first time this year the final will take place at the same weekend and venue at Wembley as the men's showpiece. Sunday's game between Chelsea and Manchester City is the pinnacle of the domestic women's football calendar and a trophy all clubs are excited to win. In that sense the men's FA Cup was for so many years until recently. "The competition is also evolving and adapting alongside the modern game," says an FA spokesman. "We will continue to assess where improvements can be made to ensure that competition remains at the highest possible level for all parties involved in the years to come."


The Patriots' Jalen Mills tells how he grew up in the same town as the Celtics' Marcus Smart

It turns out green hair isn't the only thing connecting Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills and Celtics starguard Marcus Smart. (Author: Gardener)

Jalen MillsAnyone who knows Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills knows the role of "Green Goblin" he inherited from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. Even as he spoke to reporters for the first time this offseason on Thursday — a few weeks before the start of the OTAs — his signature green dreadlocks could be seen. However, he's not the only Boston athlete rocking this look right now. Celtics point guard Marcus Smart also dyed his hair green during the 2022 NBA playoffs in which he and his team battle the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. Of course, Mills was asked what he thought of Smart copying the cornerback's signature look. As it turns out, sporting green hair isn't the only thing connecting the two native Texans. I actually went to school with Marcus Smart in Dallas in the fifth and sixth grades," Mills told reporters. Mills eventually attended two different high schools in Dallas County before going to LSU as a three-star draft defenseman and moving to the NFL in the 2016 draft. Smart, on the other hand, went to high school outside of Dallas and became one of the best basketball players in the country. Eventually, he played at Oklahoma State University for two seasons before the Celtics took him sixth overall in 2014. Years later, their paths have evened out in Boston as Mills plays for the Patriots and Smart continues his solid career with the Celtics. For his part, Mills is still drawing for his old middle school friend. "I have to go with the home team now," Mills said when asked who he's supporting in the NBA playoffs this year -- that home team, of course, is the Celtics. “I know they play good team ball. Perhaps the green-haired Smart and his teammates will have better luck in their Friday night eliminator than they did at the end of their heartbreaking Game 5 loss. As for Mills, he'll be preparing to build on a first season with the Patriots that many have come as a pleasant surprise surprised when he played admirably at outside cornerback. "Definitely feeling more comfortable," he said of entering a sophomore year with New England. "From now until last mind doesn't wander and ask 100 questions. Now this year I'm asking 50 questions instead of 100.


Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Odds, Predictions for Game 6 of NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal Playoff Series

Game 6 between the Bucks and Celtics in their Eastern Conference first round playoff series is on Wednesday. Here's who the odds makers like. (Author: Gardener)

MilwaukeeIf you bet on the Boston Celtics against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5, you probably filled your swear jar in the fourth quarter. That's because the Bucks got off the canvas and graced the Celtics to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference best-of-seven semifinal series. Game 6 is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Fiserv forum. Celtics Game 6 of the Eastern Conference NBA Playoff Semifinals Series on TV, Radio, Live Stream & More Milwaukee is -125 on the moneyline and Boston is +102. The over/under for the game is set at 210.5 points. The site's Basketball Power Index gives the Bucks a 52.2% chance of winning the game. Milwaukee is a 1.5 point favorite. Larry Rupp wrote: "Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken over this series for the last three games. The fact that Giannis has fired at least 25 shots in every game against the Celtics shows his offensive role on the court. As long as the Celtics throw Grant Williams and Al Horford at him, Antetokounmpo will continue to drive to the rim with authority. The site gives the Bucks a 57% chance of winning Game 6. The Bucks are listed as a 1.5-point favorite. The Bucks are listed as a 1.5-point favorite. The Bucks are listed as a 1.5-point favorite. Jason Radowitz wrote, "The Bucks had 17 offensive rebounds and some were in big moments of the game, away from Giannis Antetokounmpo's missed fouls. The Celtics won in the paint, scoring more on the fast break and shooting better overall from the foul line. But Milwaukee shot 44.8% from deep while the Celtics shot just 32.3% from long range in Game 5. The Celtics better hope Robert Williams is available for Game 6. Even if he's unavailable, this is it the one area the celtics need to improve the bucks have had far too many second chance opportunities subscribe to our milwaukee bucks newsletter for updates on the team please consider supporting local journalism by sharing the Subscribe to the Journal Sentinel at This article originally appeared in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bucks vs. Celtics Odds, Predictions in Game 6 2022 NBA Playoff Series


If the Bucks win the series, the Celtics will only have themselves to blame

The Celtics now have two competitive games to keep their season alive after wasting a solid performance for three and a half quarters in Game 5. (Author: Gardener)

BucksThe Bucks lead the series 3-2 against the Celtics after winning Game 5 on Wednesday. The one attribute the Celtics have never lacked, even in their darkest days this season, is confidence. That'll do them good now that their basketball backs are against the wall and they're heading back to Milwaukee for a must-win Friday night. The cocky Celtics turned on cruise control in the worst possible way at the worst possible time on Wednesday night. They thought they had Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the bag. But in that pocket, a Viper waited inside the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, and as the Celtics fooled around, it popped out and sank its fangs into them. What a waste - wasted effort, wasted lead, wasted opportunity and hopefully not a wasted season. That sums it up for the Celtics after falling out of favor in the fourth quarter. A 14-point lead and assured control of the series fizzled out in amazing and disheartening fashion in a 110-107 loss to the resourceful and resilient Bucks. Now the Celtics must do what no team has done in this series, win back-to-back, or the last 3-plus months of basketball brilliance will be nil. The undermanned Bucks, minus Celtic killer Khris Middleton, have certainly shown the heart of a champion, if not the shooting sensibility, in this series. But if Milwaukee prevails, the Celtics will have no one to blame but themselves. "We're hot just because we know we did it to ourselves," security guard Marcus Smart said. We don't have time to sulk. We don't have time to bow our heads. The reason the Celtics lost Game 5? A game after showing their growth by fighting back for the ages with a fourth quarter to tie the series, the Celtics showed their growing pains and inability to come up with luck with the maturity required in gift-wrapping that game to deal with The road to the NBA Finals is visible to the east, but the Celtics stumbled on their inflated egos. The Celtics often do their best work when the self-created difficulty is high. In the fateful final frame, the Celtics gave up the ball motion, balance and blinkered focus that had given them the lead and apparent control of the series. "We moved the ball well all game but in the last 6, 6.5 minutes we faltered and made it difficult for ourselves," said Jayson Tatum, who had 12 of the team's 21 points in the fourth quarter on his way to a team scored. high 34. The problem with rearing up for the knockout punch is that you're vulnerable to counterattacks -- in this case, offensive rebounds, 17 of them, including seven from Milwaukee in the fourth. Milwaukee took full advantage, defying the odds and Boston's skewed box score to squeak out the win on Bobby Portis' put-back of a free throw missed by Giannis Antetokounmpo by 11.4 seconds, taking the Bucks to 108-107 bring. It was the last of Milwaukee's 20 second chance points. Big rebounds and timely threes from the Bucks stabbed the green. Adding insult to disbelief in that breakdown, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, who connected the play at 105 with a clutch trey, outperformed Smart-ed Defensive Player of the Year Smart. On Boston's penultimate possession, Holiday blocked Smart's potential go-ahead hoop, then threw the ball away from Smart for possession. Then Holiday Smart broke off the ball on Boston's last possession. The core trio of Celtics, Tatum, Brown and Smart, who all had their magic moments combining for 75 points, came out to perform the parquet post mortem to examine how they had the reins of this series in their hands and then just let them slip through. The Game 5 loss for the Celtics will go down in history as one of the toughest in Boston sports history. Tatum provided the most positive spin and face. Smart and Jaylen Brown, watching his night go to waste with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, smoldered. What valid reason could there be to screw up a game you were leading at 14 with 10 minutes to go? How do you waste a contest where you shot 51.2 percent to Milwaukee's 43.5 percent, where you colorized the Bucks 50-44, despite Antetokounmpo shooting at 40, in which the boys played Derrick White and Daniel Theis shot a combined 9? out of 10 for 20 points where Milwaukee had 13 turnovers to their 10? "We gave it away," said Brown, who caught fire in third place for 16 points but remained goalless in fourth after coach Ime Udoka iced him on the bench. “Do Milwaukee credit. They played hard for 48 minutes. We played hard but we weren't as focused on the track as we needed to be and that cost us... the game.” Actually, the Celtics didn't lose from lack of pride, it was from too much of it. It's tough surviving in the playoffs when you're giving away games you should be winning, but as Brown said, "If anyone can do it, the Celtics can." "The streak isn't over," Tatum said.


Bucks are hoping to reverse the trend on the home court and win a series against Celtics

Road teams have won three of the five games, including the final two, as Milwaukee and Boston go head-to-head at the Fiserv Forum on Friday. (Author: Gardener)

MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks are looking to build momentum on an exciting comeback, and the Golden State Warriors are trying to put an embarrassing loss behind them as both teams look to win their second-round streak. Both have a 3-2 lead in their respective series and are home for Game 6 on Friday. Defending NBA champion Bucks rebounded from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 110-107 in Boston Wednesday night while the Warriors missed an opportunity to end their streak with a 134-95 loss in Memphis. "At the end of the day we can't get too high from it," said Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo after winning Buck' Game 5. "Obviously it's great to win the game, great to come home and be good to ourselves feel, but the work isn't done yet.” Though Milwaukee is enjoying an emotional victory and Golden State is suffering a loss, the trends in these series suggest the Warriors should be more comfortable going home. Home field advantage hasn't meant much in the Bucks-Celtics series. The road team has won three of the five games, including each of the last two. In the first five games of the other three second-round series, the home sides held a 14-1 record. The Warriors are 2-0 at home to the Grizzlies after winning Game 3 142-112 and Game 4 101-98. History suggests that the one-sided nature of Golden State's Game 5 loss shouldn't have a spillover effect. The Warriors became the sixth team in the past 10 years to lose by at least 39 points in a non-streak playoff game. Four of the previous five losing teams won their next game. "Well it doesn't feel good to lose as much as we did," Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. "At the end of the day it's just a loss and you flush it out of your head and you remember who you are. The Grizzlies have been 1-1 with the Warriors since Morant's injury and are 21-6 in games their All-Star guard missed this season. "We know how to respond to that," Grizzlies guard/forward Dillon Brooks said. "We know how to play together better than any team in the NBA." The Celtics look to finish it off by recovering from a 3-2 deficit and winning a potential Game 7 in Boston on Sunday. "We had a golden opportunity," Celtics coach Ime Udoka said after the Game 5 loss. The Bucks took the lead of the series with a comeback in Game 5 when Bobby Portis missed the go-ahead basket on a putback of an Antetokounmpo - Scored a free throw with a 15 second lead. The team that led in the fourth quarter has lost the last three games of this series. Three-time All-Star forward Jayson Tatum has been prolific, scoring 34 points in Game 5 and 30 in Game 4. But he's only 5 of 27 from 3-point range in his last three games after scoring 9 of 19 from had scored beyond the arc in the first two games of this series. Tatum needs to regain his 3-point accuracy for the Celtics to win this series.


Don't let Jrue Holiday's stellar defense overshadow his clutch, crucial offensive skills

Vacation was all the Bucks needed since Khris Middleton's injury (Author: Gardener)

BucksRanked the No. 3 high school draft in Southern California, he dropped to 17th in the 2009 NBA draft after a disappointing freshman season at UCLA. Holiday quickly blossomed as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, making his first All-Star team in his fourth season. Despite the success, however, he was not considered a building block for the franchise, and he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for two first-round picks just as the infamous Sam Hinkie-led "Process" in Philadelphia began in earnest. During his time in New Orleans, Holiday frequently topped All-Star snubs lists and was a common answer to the question, "Who is the most underrated player in the league?" When the Pelicans sold him to the Milwaukee Bucks prior to last season, the price for two first-round picks and two pick swaps was considered excessive for a player of Holiday's stature. All he's done since is continued to prove the doubters wrong, helping lead the Bucks to their first title in 50 years in 2021 and defeating them 5 within a game after a thrilling 110-107 ahead of their second straight appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals to bring Wednesday's comeback win against the Boston Celtics. Holiday has established himself as perhaps the best defender on ball in the league, especially in the postseason, and has pressured every variation of All-Star from James Harden to Trae Young to Devin Booker to Zach LaVine. His defensive prowess was never better illustrated than in the final seconds of Wednesday's win, when he spectacularly blocked Celtic guard Marcus Smart, controlling the ball and knocking it off Smart to give the Bucks possession. Then Holiday sealed the game with a steal just before the buzzer as Boston looked for a potential 3-point attempt. “Jrue, he's a damn good defender. Sometimes he picks up guys all over the place and he has his other times where he picks them up half the place. He's a guy who can change the game with his defense," Buck's big man Bobby Portis said after Game 5. "Marcus Smart might have gotten it from behind and it could have gone in, but I'm happy and fortunate that Jrue is there was to save the day." For much of Holiday's tenure with the Bucks, defense was the priority. With two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and all-star Khris Middleton as the main scorers, Holiday's steady offense added to Milwaukee's fortunes. But since Middleton's injury in Game 2 of their first-round series, Holiday has been forced into a bigger offensive role -- one in which he needs to be a real No. 2 option for the Bucks to survive. On the surface, Holiday's offensive playoff numbers in the eight games since Middleton's injury seem a little dull, especially in the efficiency department -- 20.1 points per game at 37 percent field goals and 35 percent 3-point scoring. In the series against the Celtics, Holiday's field goal percentage is down to 34.5 percent. Those numbers seem paltry compared to the regular season, when Holiday averaged 18.3 points per game on shooting splits of 50/41/76 Sterling. But you have to consider what the Bucks are asking of Holiday in the postseason. After 14 shots per game during the regular season, Holiday is averaging over 23 attempts per game in the Celtics series. With attempts increasing, coupled with the fact that he's playing against the league's top defense and being guarded by the likes of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, it's understandable that his efficiency is slipping. Holiday needs to remain aggressive offensively even when his shots don't go in because it helps Antetokounmpo find some much-needed calm and open things up for the roleplayers. "His ability to shoot on time, get in the basket and finish, get in the middle and finish," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said earlier in the Celtics series. He's not afraid to put his body into the Celtics' taller defenders, whether it's a post-up or a drive. In the conference semifinals, Holiday is averaging 15.4 drives per game, compared to 13 per game in the regular season. Watch Holiday isolate on Tatum and quickly attack him, using his strength to sidestep the taller defender to pull off the easy layup. In Game 2, despite a significant size difference, he showed no fear in attacking Al Horford around the basket. He's a great guy to have next to you," said Antetokounmpo after Game 5. And when it comes to time gains, Holiday was spectacular. In fact, it was Holiday, not Antetokounmpo, who led the team in the clutch standings in the postseason. In After five games defined as a "clutch" this postseason (within five points with five minutes remaining), Holiday has averaged 2.2 points compared to Antetokounmpo's one point. Holiday's percentages may not be great, but if you've watched these playoffs -- particularly the Boston ones -- you've seen Holiday make several big plays in the pivotal moments. On Wednesday, as the Bucks recovered from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Holiday went into isolation and hit a hard, contested shot against Smart. the newly crowned Defensive Player of the Year, who cut the lead to two with four minutes left, followed by a game-defining, unhesitating 3-pointer in the last minute to put the Bucks in position to finally win the game has evolved throughout the series consistently proven in the clutch. In Game 4, he somehow found Brook Lopez for a near-impossible alley-oop to get the Bucks to two. It was also telling in Game 3 when Antetokounmpo, one of the faces of the NBA and reigning MVP of the NBA Finals, willingly passed the ball to Holiday for a bucket with the Bucks by one by less than 30 seconds. Holiday again selected a stronger defender, pinned Tatum to the ground with his strong arm and then threw in a difficult flawless touch floater to improve his team by three. It's easy to look at Holiday and focus on his elite defensive skills, but the Bucks wouldn't be able to reach the conference finals without his consistent offensive aggressiveness and clutch playstyle. With Middleton out of the mix, Holiday gave Budenholzer and the Bucks exactly what they needed to survive. Obviously we're in Boston, we lost 14 in the fourth quarter. People would say everything is against us, but we're coming together," Holiday said after the Game 5 win. "I feel like we've done that several times before and we're going to live and die with it - us each other's backs, just cross your arms and go out there and fight.