BOSTON (AP) — Ersan Ilyasova led Milwaukee’s third-quarter surge from a halftime deficit with 11 points and the Milwaukee Bucks hurt the Boston Celtics’ playoff chances with a 110-101 win Friday night.

Boston dropped a half-game behind idle Miami in the competition for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with six games left.

Trailing 52-50 at halftime, the Bucks outscored the Celtics 36-23 in the third quarter and took an 86-75 lead. They pulled ahead with Ilyasova scoring his 11 points in an 18-2 run that made it 73-58 with just under five minutes left in the period.

The Celtics cut the lead to 86-82 by scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter but came no closer.

O.J. Mayo led Milwaukee with 24 points. Boston was led by Isaiah Thomas with 23 and Avery Bradley with 17.

The Celtics hoped to get a boost from the surprising return of forward Jared Sullinger from a stress fracture in his left foot. The Celtics said on Feb. 22 that the injury would sideline him for the season. He entered the game about four minutes into the third quarter, missed both his shots and didn’t return as part of a gradual effort to improve his stamina.

Mayo scored 20 points in the first half, but the Bucks still trailed by two. Giannis Antetokounmpo tied it with the first basket of the second half. Boston took its last lead at 56-55 on a basket by Brandon Bass.

That’s when the Bucks pulled away by scoring the next 12 points and 18 of the next 20. Zaza Pachulia began the run with a layup, Ilyasova got the next seven points, Pachulia made a free throw and Ilyasova capped the 12-0 spurt with an 18-footer.

After Boston scored the last four points of the third quarter and first seven of the fourth to cut the lead to four, Milwaukee regained control on consecutive layups by Pachulia and Jared Dudley for a 90-82 lead with about 10 minutes remaining. The Bucks led by six to 11 points the rest of the way.


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