Bucks beat Celtics; Sixers to learn next NBA playoffs opponent Saturday

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Could Sixers guard Ben Simmons spend the next round helping contain Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The 76ers will have to wait until Saturday night to find out their Eastern Conference semifinal opponent.

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Boston Celtics 97-86 in Game 6 of their first-round matchup on Thursday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bucks’ victory knotted the best-of-seven series at three games apiece. The decisive Game 7 is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Celtics’ TD Garden.

The third-seeded Sixers will face the winner on Monday.

If the second-seeded Celtics win Saturday, they would get home-court advantage and host the Sixers in Game 1 on Monday night. However, the Sixers would open the series at the Wells Fargo Center if the seventh-seeded Bucks’ win.

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The Celtics won three of the team’s four regular-season games against the Sixers: 102-92 (Oct. 20 in Philly), 108-97 (Nov. 30 in Boston) and 114-103 (Jan. 11 in London) victories. In the final meeting, the Sixers beat a Celtics squad minus all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, 89-80, on Jan. 18 in Boston.  Irving is sidelined after having season-ending left knee surgery.

The Sixers split their four regular-season games with the Bucks, with the home team winning all the meetings.

Philly routed the Bucks 130-95 on April 11, the final day of the regular season. It was obvious from the start the Sixers were going to win.

They shot 72.7 percent on three-pointers in the first quarter en route to a 46-18 lead. They went on to take a commanding 41-point lead (70-29) after Dario Saric’s 4-foot floater with 5 minutes, 7 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Sixers took an 80-44 lead at intermission. The 80 points were a floor record for points scored in a half. The Sixers shot 49.5 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on three-pointers for the game.