BOSTON – Before Wednesday night’s tip-off against the Milwaukee Bucks, a recorded message from Gordon Hayward played on the Jumbotron above center court.
Hayward, out indefinitely after suffering a dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday, had a simple message for those at the TD Garden about wishing he was there with his teammates.
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They feel the same way, especially after coming up short for the second time in as many nights.
This time it was the Milwaukee Bucks getting it done down the stretch in defeating Boston 108-100.
Boston (0-2) has opened the season with back-to-back losses for the first time since 2013, Brad Stevens’ first season as the Celtics head coach.
After a fairly close start, Boston found itself down 58-53 at the half.
And just like their game at Cleveland the previous night, the Celtics were a different team in the third quarter.
Boston would pull ahead by as many as six points in the third before going into the fourth holding on to an 80-76 lead.
Jaylen Brown, who scored a career-high 25 points against the Cavs on Tuesday, was the catalyst to Boston’s third-quarter surge with nine of his 18 points in the quarter.
But Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, limited early on with foul trouble, seemed to get stronger and more impactful as the game progressed. He was one rebound shy of a double-double at the half, before finishing with 37 points and 13 rebounds.
Most of the fourth quarter was spent as a one-possession game, with neither team showing the ability to take over and pull away until the final few minutes as Milwaukee made just enough plays at both ends of the floor to keep the Celtics from overtaking them.