Giannis’ Free-Throw Woes and Clutch Tatum See the Celtics Defeat Bucks, 122-121
The Boston Celtics opened their season with a big win over the reigning NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks, 122-121.
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Giannis missed what would be a game-tying free throw, with 0.4 seconds to go, handing a win to the Celtics. Once again, the Greek Freak had trouble with the lane shots, indicating that he didn’t resolve this matter during the offseason, despite ending the night with 6-for-8 in that category.
Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum scored a massive three within the last second, from an extremely tough situation with Giannis, also the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, guarding him. Tatum managed to release the ball with a high arc and hit the net’s bottom off the glass for 122-121.
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Tatum opening night game winner over Giannis 😤😤😤 pic.twitter.com/WhJh6Sqscl
— ESPN (@espn) December 24, 2020
Previously, the Celtics had a 17-point lead coming into the final period, 101-84, but suddenly ran out of gas, allowing guests from Wisconsin to make a comeback and even get the edge.
Overall, the Bucks were dictating the tempo until the end of the first half, once Boston began pushing. Midway through the third, Celtics pulled away, winning that sequence 37-25.
Tatum had 30 points with seven boards and six threes in 13 attempts. Jaylen Brown was superb with 33 buckets, five boards, and four assists, shooting 13-for-24 from the field, and presenting massive trouble for the Bucks on both sides of the floor.
The newcomer Jeff Teague did his part of the job coming off the bench perfectly with 19 buckets, making all of his four three-point shots. Another new face, Tristan Thompson, had 12 points and 8 rebounds.
With the Bucks, Giannis dropped 35 with 13 rebounds, and two blocks, 13-for-26 from the floor. Khris Middleton was right behind as always, with 27 points and 14 boards, being shy two assists from a triple-double. Donte DiVincenzo had 15 points.
Milwaukee’s latest addition, Jrue Holiday had 25 points with six boards, making 10 of 16 shots in 38 minutes. One of the biggest problems for head coach Mike Budenholzer was the fact that his bench provided just 12 points. That proved to be one of the biggest reasons for tonight’s defeat.
Milwaukee faces the Golden State Warriors on Friday, in their first match at home in this 2020/21 campaign.
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The Boston Celtics await Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day. Even though the two already met during the preseason, things will be different now, with this being the first competitive match for Irving in TD Garden following the nasty breakup.