Tatum, Giannis show out as Celtics force Game 7 (2:18)

In an incredible Game 6 that saw the Celtics come out on top, the two teams combined for 90 points. (3:18)

1:00 AM ET

The man wasn't about to let it happen again. The Boston Celtics had a chance to take control of the NBA playoffs semifinal series but let it slip through their hands. That was not the case on Friday.

As the Milwaukee Bucks made a push in the fourth quarter, Tatum seemed to have an answer at every turn. Boston held on for a108-95 victory at Fiserv Forum, as Tatum scored 28 of his 46 points in the second half.

Marcus Smart said that he gets paid the big bucks because of that. For moments like that. I told him to be himself. He was. He gets paid to do that. That is what we rely on him to do.

The series is tied at three games apiece. The game is in Boston.

The Celtics held a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and were up six with two minutes to play, but the Bucks came back to win the game. The Celtics held a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter on Friday, but decided to leave with a different result.

The thought of what happened in the previous game crept into the minds of the Celtics bench as Milwaukee cut the lead to four. Boston coach Ime Udoka told his team not to get stagnant in the fourth quarter as they did in the previous game.

Udoka said they had the right resolve. We had a chance to make it a better story, even though we let an opportunity slip away. We played well for three and a half quarters and felt good about it.

Everyone was pissed about that outcome, but we knew how well we played throughout the series and let some things slip away. But never any doubts about the game. We put it to bed the next day and look forward to going back to the Garden.

After the Bucks closed it to 85-81, Tatum hit a jumper as the shot clock expired. When Milwaukee answered with a layup from Pat Connaughton, the other team answered with a 3-pointer from Tatum. Boston's next time down, he showed off his skills with a one-legged fadeaway.

He hit another trey with 5:40 left to push the lead to eight. The game was out of reach with 2:38 left when Tatum converted an old-fashioned three-point play. The collapse of Game 5 was on the minds of the Celtics.

It was a bad taste in their mouths to lose that game. Learning from watching film. The desire. We were positive. We were not defeated. Knowing that we still had a chance to get a win. We believed that. We did. We believe in each other and I think it showed tonight.

In the Game 5 loss, Smart was blocked by Holiday and the ball was taken from him by Holiday in the final 10 seconds. He went to the practice facility to get ready for the next game.

Smart said that he would get some sleep the first night after the game.

Smart started the game like someone who wanted to forget his last game as quickly as possible, as he had 14 points in the opening frame while shooting 4-of-6 from deep.

Smart said that he had to come set the tone. I am the heart and soul of the team. My teammates say that to me a lot. I try to be that for them. The energy that I bring is infectious. I know that. I try to bring that every game.

Jaylen Brown has been around for a lot of big games, but he knew that this one was more important.

Brown said that it was a big-time performance. You would love to see him come out and carry us like he did in Game 7. It was definitely a signature game for the Celtics.

Brown and Smart scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, for Boston. The trio combining for 82.4% of the Celtics points was the second-highest percentage by a Boston trio in the playoffs, behind only Dave Cowens, John Havlicek and Jo Jo White who scored 80 of 91 points on April 20, 1973.

The Celtics have started to play Al Horford closer to the perimeter, which has allowed the perimeter players to get going, something Milwaukee tried to stop earlier in the series.

Al hurt them early in the series, and they tried to take that away, but it opens up other things for other guys.

The series goes back to Boston and the Garden. Home court may not be an advantage. The road team has won four of the six games in the series. The Celtics players are excited to be a part of one of the most important games of the series.

I expect it to be loud. I think it will be fun. I expect to be a part of a great game. Brown said he was looking forward to it.