Celtics

Celtics beat Bucks 111-100 despite monster night from Antetokounmpo

Celtics beat Bucks 111-100 despite monster night from Antetokounmpo

BOSTON – Monday’s game between Boston and Milwaukee was billed as Greek night, which you would imagine had to make Giannis Antetokounmpo feel at home.

He had a monster night for the Milwaukee Bucks, finishing with 40 points on 14-for-24 shooting with nine rebounds and four assists.

The rest of his team?

Not so much.

And it was Boston’s balanced attack that paved the way for a 111-100 win. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 32 points, with Al Horford chipping in a near triple-double (seems like he does this every other game, huh?) with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Boston (21-4) got double-figure scoring from Jayson Tatum (17 points) and Aron Baynes (10 points).

The Celtics’ defense certainly played a role in Milwaukee’s less-than-stellar play in the closing minutes.

But Boston also benefited from a Milwaukee team that looked fatigued, and that’s not a stretch considering the minutes logged by the Bucks’ core guys in the second half.

Milwaukee head coach Jason Kidd played four of his five starters for the entire third quarter, and used just one substitution off the bench.

In the same period, Boston used nine players with only one – Jayson Tatum – playing the entire third period.

Once they got around to the fourth, Boston simply made the necessary plays to maintain at least a three or four-possession lead as they added yet another victory to their league-best record which now stands at 21-4.

Tatum got the Celtics off to fast start, scoring 14 points in the first quarter alone. And Baynes, in the starting lineup primarily because of his defense, made the most of Milwaukee’s defense not paying him much attention, scoring eight points in the first quarter which ended with Boston ahead 34-26.

Irving went into “I got this” mode in the second quarter, finishing the first half with 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo was dominant as ever, scoring on drives to the basket, lay-ups and a few dunks including a couple over Baynes.

Boston pulled ahead by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, only to see its lead on the cusp of being single digits again.

Eric Bledsoe, whose arrival has brought about much-improved play by the Bucks, drained a 3-pointer with 3:23 to play in the third that cut Boston’s lead to 81-72.

Another Celtics missed followed by a basket by Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon brought the Bucks within 81-74, only for a 3-point play by Irving that put the Celtics back ahead by double-digits.

But that sequence was in many ways symbolic of the kind of night that the Bucks had … good but not good enough.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Horford out, Irving probable for Wednesday's game vs Nuggets

usatsi_10474129.jpg

Horford out, Irving probable for Wednesday's game vs Nuggets

BOSTON – The days of playing short-handed continue for the Boston Celtics who will be without at least one all-star when they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. 

The Celtics announced on Tuesday that Al Horford (rest) will not play. A knee collision with Detroit’s Anthony Tolliver on Sunday made Horford a game-time decision prior to Boston’s 108-85 loss at Chicago on Monday. Horford played but like most of his teammates, didn’t play as well as he would have liked before finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists which included him missing all four of his 3-point attempts. 

Kyrie Irving is probable with a quad injury that kept him out of the Bulls loss. 

Marcus Morris (left knee) will miss his third straight game (14th this season) and remains out indefinitely. Also, Gordon Hayward (left ankle fracture) remains out although he may get some good news tomorrow.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Hayward may ditch the boot for good on Wednesday

celtics_gordon_hayward_092617.jpg

Hayward may ditch the boot for good on Wednesday

BOSTON -- The timetable for Gordon Hayward’s return to the court hasn’t changed as far as the Celtics are concerned. 
 
But try telling that to Hayward, who may be out of his walking boot for good very soon -- like tomorrow soon. 
 
C's coach Brad Stevens gave an update on Hayward’s status in an interview with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for Krzyzewski’s SiriusXM show, “Basketball & Beyond with Coach K,” which will air Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (SiriusXM channel 84).
 
“He’s going to the doctor [Wednesday] to potentially get out of his walking boot for good, which he’s jacked about,” Stevens said.
 
Stevens and Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, have reiterated how aggressive Hayward has been in attacking his rehab since suffering a dislocated left ankle injury in the season opener at Cleveland on October 17. 
 
“He is literally in the weight room as we speak,” Stevens said. “Does all the training table [work], just like our guys. Has his own shooting time even when he was in a boot, sitting in a chair. He had his own shooting time and had his own lifting time, just like all our players do before practice.”
 
From the very outset, Stevens and the Celtics have made keeping Hayward as involved as possible a priority.
  
But Stevens is quick to caution that while Hayward is making good progress, the Celtics are still proceeding forward as though they will not have him back until next season.

“His status is, the way that we’ve looked at it the whole time is, we don’t expect him back this year,” Stevens said. “But he shoots for all of his goals, week to week, day to day, to try to expedite it as much as he can. He obviously wants to be back, like any athlete, as soon as he can.”
 
Hayward signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Celtics this summer after spending his first seven NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz. Boston was awarded an $8.4 million disabled player exception for Hayward's injury, the largest DPE ever. Boston was awarded the exception in part because independent doctors determined that it’s “likely” that Hayward will not be able to return prior to June 15.
 
However, Boston will still keep the DPE until it expires (March 10, 2018) even if Hayward returns sooner than expected. 
 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE