It was a sloppy game offensively, but coach Mike Budenholzer said it was encouraging to see his team win a game with their defense. The game went back and forth down the stretch but it was the Milwaukee Bucks that prevailed 98-97 over the Boston Celtics.
With 3.5 seconds left, the Celtics inbounded the ball side court and down by one. Kyrie Irving took the pass above the three-point line and drive into the lane with Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe glued to his side and Giannis Antetokounmpo giving help on the opposite side. Together, they forced Irving to throw a desperation shot at the basket that was off the mark.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Nineteen of the 30 points came in the second half, helping the Bucks win the season series against the Celtics 2-1.
With the game tied at 95, Bucks forward Khris Middleton his the biggest shot of the night, a three-pointer from the point to put the Bucks up 98-95.
Irving (22 points) drove for a layup to make it 98-97, which is where the scoring would end.
The game included the debut of recently acquired Nikola Mirotic. He finished with eight points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.
The Bucks moved 30 games over .500 with the win, improving to 44-14. The 44 victories matches the team’s total from all of last year.
The Bucks return to Fiserv Forum on Saturday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.