NBA regular season

Celtics dismantle Bucks in Christmas duel of top East teams

Celtics dismantle Bucks in Christmas duel of top East teams

TOP PLAYERS. Jayson Tatum (right) outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo in an emphatic Celtics win over the Bucks.

Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combine for 70 points in a game for the eighth time in their careers as the Celtics hand the Bucks their third straight loss

Jayson Tatum posted his fifth straight 30-point game, leading the Boston Celtics with 41 en route to a 139-118 Christmas Day win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, December 25 (Monday, December 26, Manila time).

Tatum and Jaylen Brown (29 points) combined for 70 points in a game for the eighth time in their careers. Tatum added 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals as Boston won back-to-back games.

Derrick White, Grant Williams, and Al Horford also scored in double figures, helping Boston shoot 19 of 39 from three-point range.

Marcus Smart handed out 8 assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a team-high 27 points, while Jrue Holiday finished with 23, Brook Lopez scored 16, and Massachusetts native Pat Connaughton added 15 on 4 three-pointers in Milwaukee’s third straight loss.

Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis each pulled in 9 rebounds and Holiday also dished out 7 assists.

After Boston led by just a point at halftime, Tatum posted a 20-point third quarter to help the Celtics build a 14-point lead.

Tatum and Horford hit from downtown as the Celtics opened the second half on an 8-2 run. Following a Bucks timeout, Tatum hit 3 of the hosts’ 5 straight field goals to help increase the score to 87-78. Connaughton had 8 straight Milwaukee points in the midst.

The entire Bucks team only outscored Tatum by 5 in the quarter and it was a 100-86 game entering the final frame after a Grant Williams corner trey.

Joe Ingles hit a running three-pointer as Milwaukee closed to 9 early in the fourth, but Williams bookended a 10-0 Celtics run with three-pointers to make it 110-91. Brown later scored 10 straight points to help put the game out of reach.

The Celtics shot 7 of 9 over the first 4:03. Tatum and Brown hit back-to-back triples to cap an 8-0 run, turning a 12-11 deficit into a 19-12 lead and forcing Milwaukee to call a timeout.

Milwaukee used a 10-3 run to get within 30-28 late in the first. Brown followed with a pullup three-pointer and Hauser banked in a deep triple at the buzzer, extending Boston’s lead to 36-28.

Shortly after an 8-0 Milwaukee run, Tatum responded with a hammer dunk over Antetokounmpo with 5:07 left before halftime.

Boston’s lead was just 62-61 at the break, as Lopez hit a fadeaway with 2.8 seconds left before Brown missed 3 foul shots. –

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