BOSTON — Jayson Tatum banked home a go-ahead fallaway 3-pointer 0.4 seconds from time and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the potential tying free throw with the last play of the game and the Boston Celtics opened their 2020-21 NBA season with a 122-121 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Tatum Banks Home Over Antetokounmpo
“Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be in that position,” said Tatum. “If it goes down or not, that’s what I work so hard for. You just want to be in that moment.”
Boston trailed 120-119 when Jrue Holiday made a 26-foot step-back shot with 1:10 left in the game.
However, Tatum collected an inbound pass before dribbling the clock down from 8.9 seconds and then let go a step-back high-arcing 3-pointer over Antetokounmpo that kisses the glass on its way in.
“I think aside from the ball going in the basket, I’m not sure we could have defended Tatum much better than we did,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
“I thought Giannis did a great job individually, great contest. Credit to Tatum, he banked in a 3 at the end of the clock.”
The All-Star forward ended the game with 30 points and seven rebounds and shot 12-of-28 from the field, including 6 for 13 from 3-pointers as Boston escaped with the victory at TD Garden.
Jaylen Brown led Boston in scoring with 33 on 13-of-24 shooting to go with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while Jeff Teague tallied 19 points off the bench (7-of-15) and made all four of his 3-point attempts for the Celtics, who led 101-84 entering the fourth quarter.
Tristan Thompson collected 12 points and eight rebounds and Daniel Theis scored 10 points in the win for the home side.
Antetokounmpo Misses, Boston Holds On
Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo scored 18 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and completed his double-double with 13 rebounds to lead Milwaukee. The two-time reigning MVP shot 13-of-26 from the field before missing the key free throw at the end.
Khris Middleton had 27 points on 10-of-20 shots and grabbed 14 rebounds, while newcomer Jrue Holiday scored 25 points with six rebounds for the Bucks, who were losing their NBA season opener for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign when they lost to Charlotte.