NBA regular season

Cruising Celtics: Boston holds off Bucks for 10th straight home win


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Cruising Celtics: Boston holds off Bucks for 10th straight home win

SUPERSTARS. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (right) and Bucks guard Damian Lillard talk after their game.

Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

With a record far ahead of the rest of the league, the Boston Celtics tally another key win after escaping the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Bucks

Jayson Tatum had 31 points and 8 rebounds to help the Boston Celtics extend their winning streak to seven games with a 122-119 victory over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, March 20 (Thursday, March 21, Manila time).

Derrick White added 23 points and 8 assists for Boston, which made 18 of its 40 three-point attempts. Jaylen Brown had 21 points, and Payton Pritchard came off the bench to score 19. Pritchard made 5-of-8 treys.

The victory stretched Boston’s home winning streak to 10 games and improved the Celtics’ home record to 32-3, while hiking their league-beat mark to 55-14.

West Conference leader Oklahoma City Thunder, who scored a 119-107 win over the Utah Jazz also on Wednesday, hold the second-best record in the league at 48-20.

Milwaukee – second to the Bucks in the East with a 44-25 record – trailed 116-114 after a Bobby Portis layup with 32.6 seconds to play, but Brown made two free throws to give Boston a four-point lead with 20.3 seconds remaining, and Milwaukee failed to score on its ensuing possession. 

The Celtics led by 6 points until Damian Lillard made a three-pointer at the final buzzer.

Lillard scored a game-high 32 points, and Portis added 24 points and 15 rebounds. The Bucks received 22 points from Khris Middleton.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game this season.

Boston wasn’t at full strength, either. Starting guard and former Buck Jrue Holiday was scratched with a shoulder injury, and Sam Hauser remained out after spraining his left ankle during Sunday’s victory in Washington.

The Celtics led 33-28 after the first quarter and had their largest lead of the first half after a Pritchard three-pointer put Boston in front 56-38 with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter. 

Tatum scored 23 points in the first half, and Boston had a 69-56 advantage at the break.

The Bucks sliced their deficit to 5 points early in the third quarter, but Boston scored 13 of the next 15 points to push its lead to 86-70. The Celtics had a 99-78 lead after a White three-point play with 1:53 remaining in the third and led 101-83 entering the fourth. –

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