Celtics Wrap: Kyrie Irving Misses Tough Shot At Buzzer In 98-97 Loss To Bucks
The Celtics came stumbling out of the gate following the NBA All-Star break, but so too did the Bucks.
But when all was said in done at Fiserv Arena, it was Milwaukee claiming a thrilling 98-97 win over Boston on Thursday night.
The Celtics trailed by as many as nine in the fourth quarter but made it a battle down the stretch. With time expiring though, Kyrie Irving was unable to sink a floater.
Al Horford posted 21 points with a season-high 16 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Irving (22 points), Jaylen Brown (15) and Marcus Morris (11) also tallied double figures for Boston.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a game-high 30 points and was one of four Bucks in double figures.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to 37-22, while the Bucks climb to 44-14 with the win.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
C: Al Horford
KNOCKING OFF RUST
It took both sides a little time to get going in the first quarter, but after the opening 12 minutes, the Celtics led 23-20.
The two teams combined for just 17 points over the first six minutes but started to kick it into gear in the back half. Boston scored 10 unanswered to go up 17-6 with 5:16 left, but the Bucks responded a minute later by kicking off a 12-3 run of their own to cut the deficit to two with just over a minute remaining.
All told, the Celtics shot a mere 33.3 percent from the field in the first, and the Bucks weren’t much better at 36.4 percent. Khris Middleton led all players with seven points. Horford had just three points, but grabbed seven rebounds and added a pair of steals.
BUCKS START TAKING CONTROL
Once both teams were sufficiently warmed up, the second quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with the Bucks outscoring the C’s 33-25 to take a 53-47 lead into the half.
A quick 6-2 run early in the second allowed the Bucks to take the lead. From there, the two sides traded punches, with the period featuring seven lead changes and four more ties. An 8-0 run over the final 95 seconds of the half allowed the Bucks to enter the break with a bit of a cushion.
Although the Bucks were the more efficient side on the offensive end in the second, the C’s did a pretty nice job around the rim, as evidenced by these two plays.
Malcolm Brogdon led all players with eight second-quarter points. Brown and Horford paced the Celtics with seven points apiece in the frame. Middleton led all players with 12 points in the half.
C’S START CHIPPING
After a pretty entertaining second quarter, the break stagnated both offenses. The Celtics ultimately outscored the Bucks 21-19 in the third to head into the final stanza trailing 72-68.
Things were pretty dreadful on the offensive end out of the chute, with the two teams combining for just 13 points over the first seven minutes of the stanza. But following that bricklaying fest, both offenses began showing a little bit of life.
A 9-3 run by the Bucks allowed them to extend their advantage to six with just under three minutes left. Brown’s breakaway dunk with 45 seconds to go cut the lead to one, but Tony Snell’s triple in response upped Milwaukee’s lead to four to end the frame.
Irving got hot down the stretch and finished with a game-high 10 third-quarter points.
It was a white-knuckle final 12 minutes, with the Bucks ultimately winning the game despite getting outscored 29-26.
Milwaukee got its lead to as large as nine in the fourth, but by the five-minute mark the Celtics got the deficit down to two.
With 2:48 left Irving, who had been cold for extended periods throughout the night, hit a deep pull-up trey to put the Celtics ahead 90-89. The Bucks went back ahead, and with the home team leading by three with 55 seconds to go, Horford splashed a game-tying three. The tie wouldn’t last long though, as Middleton countered with a triple at the 33-second mark.
Following a timeout, Irving brought the Celtics within one on a layup. The Celtics elected not to foul with a 3.5-second difference between the game and shot clock with Marcus Smart ultimately forcing a jump ball with Antetokounmpo. The Bucks nearly scored on the tip but lost possession on a shot-clock violation since they only had 0.2 seconds to work with.
With 3.5 seconds to play in the game and the Celtics in possession on an inbound pass, Smart found Irving. The guard drove to the hoop and released a heavily-contested floater as time expired, but couldn’t get it to fall.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Celtics will continue their three-game road trip Saturday in Chicago against the Bulls. Tip-off from United Center is set for 8 p.m. ET.