Al Horford has been the Celtics’ quiet leader this postseason, and Marcus Smart might be the kindling Boston was missing in back-to-back losses in Milwaukee.
The duo was reunited for Game 5, and together, they helped put the Celtics on the verge of closing out their first-round series.
Horford had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Smart made an impact in his first game since mid-March and Boston beat the Bucks 92-87 on Tuesday night for a 3-2 lead.
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.
He was also active on the offensive end, helping drive the ball into the interior of Milwaukee’s defense, like when he tossed an alley-oop to Horford late in the third quarter .
Boston made a change to a smaller lineup, shifting Horford to center in place of Aron Baynes and starting Semi Ojeleye at forward.
Ojeleye drew the primary responsibility of guarding Antetokounmpo and handled it well. Antetokounmpo had just 10 field goal attempts.
“It’s on me. I had open shots, but they wasn’t my shots,” Antetokounmpo said. “I think my teammates did a great job finding me, but coming the next game, Game 6, I’ve got to be more aggressive and make more plays.”
“SpaceStation being a local, Utah-based esports organization, they’re going to be able to help continue to push into the esports marketplace. It’s booming,” Jazz chief information officer B.J. Vander Linden said. “We see this as an opportunity to really enter that marketplace, because it’s so different than your traditional sports environment. With the connections Shaun and his team have, it gives us the opportunity to really get into the space and see what’s going on.”
The Jazz will present a SpaceStation announcement in its Vivint Smart Home Arena on Friday during Game 6 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Vivint Smart Home Arena also hosted the GameTyrant Expo in September, an event that featured competitions in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Hearthstone and more.
The Jazz previously explored esports investment opportunities, such as applying to the League of Legends Championship Series with eUnited in July, with Salt Lake City-based venture capital firm Sorenson Capital, sources familiar with those discussions told ESPN. The Jazz ultimately decided against those opportunities.
SpaceStation Gaming was founded in June, when McBride and other influencers he works with acquired a Smite team. Previously, SpaceStation had been a YouTube channel that hosted multiple video game videos from McBride and other YouTubers.