Celtics hold off late rally to beat Bucks by 3 points in Boston
The Boston Celtics looked to have an easy win for most of the night against the Milwaukee Bucks, but they ended up needing to close strong – and they did.
Despite leading by double-digits for much of the game, the Celtics’ lead shrunk to as little as three points late in the fourth quarter, before they ultimately prevailed, by a 119-116 final. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 26 points on 10-for-16 from the field, and added eight assists.
The C’s made it rain from the three-point line in this one, going 17-for-42 (40.5 percent) as a team. Everyone who played for the Celtics sank at least one three-pointer, while everyone but Jrue Holiday hit at least two. Boston rode strong team efficiency to victory, shooting 52.4 percent collectively, compared to 44.6 percent for Milwaukee.
The Celtics scored the game’s first 10 points in the first quarter, sinking four of their first six attempts. The Bucks, meanwhile, missed their first five shot attempts in a row, before Malik Beasley finally stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer over three minutes into the game.
It looked as if Boston had already put the game out of reach. They led by 12 after one quarter, 14 at halftime, and 15 after three quarters, and led by as much as 20. But the Bucks outscored the Celtics 37-25 in the fourth quarter, as a late 18-6 run made it 114-111 C’s with 44 seconds left in regulation.
That’s when Jayson Tatum played the role of closer. Tatum drove hard to the basket and made three of his four free throws in the final minute. That plus two late misses by Damian Lillard, including a failed dunk attempt, gave the Celtics a six-point lead with seven seconds to go. A meaningless last-second Milwaukee three made it a three-point margin of victory for Boston.
Tatum finished with 23 points on 7-for-17 shooting (41.2 percent), to go with 11 rebounds and four assists.
Up Next: The Celtics will get back to action on Black Friday, when they take on the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. There’s a tipoff time of 2:30 p.m. ET for that one.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content here.