AROUND THE NBA
Tuesday’s playoff games
Celtics 92, Bucks 87
Al Horford had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Marcus Smart made an impact in his first game since mid-March and Boston beat Milwaukee for a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series. Smart came off the bench and had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks in his first game since undergoing right thumb surgery. He played 25 minutes wearing a protective splint and had a key assist late from the bottom of a scrum beneath three Milwaukee players. Terry Rozier added 16 points and five assists for Boston. The home team has won all five games in the first-round series, and Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, Jabari Parker added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a series-low 16 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists. The Celtics led by 16 before Milwaukee rallied to make it 74-70 with 7:33 left. Middleton scored later and was fouled to get Milwaukee within 84-79, but he failed to complete the three-point play. A few possessions later, Smart managed to squeeze out the pass to Horford with three Bucks draped over him, and Horford easily dropped in a layup to make it 86-79 with 28.1 seconds left. Milwaukee got within 87-84 after a layup by Eric Bledsoe, but the Celtics hit enough free throws the rest of the way to secure the win. The Bucks entered the game shooting an NBA playoff-best 54 percent from the field, but they hit just 37 percent for the game (32 of 87) — a series low. Boston needed an energy boost after slow starts in Games 3 and 4, and Smart gave the Celtics exactly that. He checked in for the first time late in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, he deflected a pass and won a scramble on the floor for the loose ball. A few possessions later, he was helping protect the rim, getting his hand in to deny an alley-oop dunk attempt by Antetokounmpo.
76ers 104, Heat 91
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons shined again in front of rapper Meek Mill, and the dominant duo ushered the nightmares-into-dreams Process of the Philadelphia 76ers into the second round. The 76ers, winners of 10 games just two seasons ago, are in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012. They await the winner of Milwaukee-Boston. The Sixers won the series 4-1 and turned the Wells Fargo Center into the wildest house party in the city. Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Simmons had 14 points and 10 boards, and the entire team had rappers, politicians, actors and kids dancing along for the ride.