Middleton, Bucks beat Celtics 121-119 for 8th straight win

·2 min read

Khris Middleton had 27 points and 13 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks topped the Boston Celtics 121-119 on Wednesday for their eighth consecutive victory.

Milwaukee led by as many as 25, but only secured the win when Boston’s Daniel Theis missed a wide-open corner 3-point attempt in the final seconds.

After trailing 90-65 midway through the third quarter, the Celtics cut the margin to two on Jaylen Brown’s 3-pointer with 1:32 left. Theis then drew an offensive foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Celtics had multiple opportunities to tie the game or go in front the rest of the way.

Marcus Smart missed a 3-pointer with just over a minute left. Donte DiVincenzo blocked a shot attempt from Kemba Walker with about 35 seconds remaining. Brook Lopez blocked a Smart shot attempt from around the basket with 2 seconds left.

Middleton knocked Smart’s ensuing inbounds pass out of bounds, giving the Celtics one last opportunity. Smart found Theis all alone in front of the Celtics’ bench, but the shot bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

The frantic final minutes came after Milwaukee dominated much of the game. The Bucks took the lead for good late in the first quarter and were in front by double digits most of the way.

Antetokounmpo and Boston’s Jayson Tatum returned after the All-Stars missed games on Monday. Antetokounmpo rested during the Bucks’ 140-113 victory over Indiana because of a sprained left knee. An illness kept Tatum from playing in a 132-126 overtime loss at Memphis.

Antetokounmpo scored 13 points – his second-lowest total of the season – but also had eight rebounds and seven assists. Bobby Portis scored 21 for Milwaukee. Lopez and DiVincenzo each had 17.

Brown led Boston with 24 points, Walker had 23 and Tatum had 18.

The Bucks have won 13 of their last 14 games – a stretch that started after a five-game skid.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Reserve forward Semi Ojeleye bruised his left hip early in the second quarter. He was helped to the locker room and didn’t play the rest of the night. … The Celtics have lost five of their last six games.

Bucks: Reserve guard Bryn Forbes was held out with a toe injury. Forbes’ absence resulted in an opportunity for Sam Merrill, who typically isn’t part of the rotation but entered Wednesday’s game late in the first quarter. ... P.J. Tucker, who sprained his left ankle in the Pacers game, played Wednesday and had three points and three rebounds in 19 minutes.

UP NEXT

The Celtics and Bucks meet again Friday in Milwaukee.

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Steve Megargee, The Associated Press