Giannis Antetokounmpo saved his best for the final quarter as Milwaukee snapped a three-game, four-month long losing streak with a 119-112 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night in Orlando.
The reigning MVP, and favorite to repeat, scored 16 of his 36 in the fourth quarter as the Bucks outscored the Celtics by seven in the final quarter to grab the win in the first of eight seeding games in the NBA bubble. Antetokounmpo added 15 rebounds and seven assists to his final stat line in the victory.
Milwaukee led for the entire game until Jaylen Brown drilled a 3-pointer with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter to make it 99-98. Antetokounmpo entered the game at that point and proceeded to scored 10 of Milwaukee’s final 21 points. Among them was a pair of and-1s, including one that came after an overturned offensive foul that would have fouled him out.
It wasn’t just the Greek Freak, though. Khris Middleton had 18 points, including a clutch 3-pointer in the final minutes. Brook Lopez contributed 14 points and six blocks, while Donte DiVincenzo added 10 points and six rebounds.
Boston was paced by 23 points from Marcus Smart off the bench and Jalen Brown pitched in 22 points.
It was a forgettable night for Jason Tatum. The All-Star had just five points and was 2-for-18 from the field.
Milwaukee played without Eric Bledsoe, Marvin Williams and Pat Connaughton. Bledsoe and Connaughton are still working their way back into shape after missing time following positive COVID-19 tests, while Williams has a groin injury.
The win moved Milwaukee’s magic number to clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference to one. The Bucks will face James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Sunday.