Celtics

Horford leads Celtics in wild Game 1 win over Bucks

Horford leads Celtics in wild Game 1 win over Bucks

BOSTON –  Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 113-107 Game 1 playoff win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

STARS

Al Horford: Big Al came up with one of his biggest games of the season and the Celtics needed it. He tallied a double-double that included a team-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds along with four assists, two steals and three blocked shots. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak was dominant as ever, finishing with a double-double that included a game-high 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting, along with 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Terry Rozier: Scary Terry was at his best down the stretch, drilling what was thought to be the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds to play. When that shot was matched to force overtime, Rozier was at it again, coming up big down the stretch. He finished with 23 points, including three free throws in the final 13 seconds of overtime. 

Khris Middleton: This was one of those dominant performances in a very stealth-like manner. He hit the game-tying 3-pointer to force overtime which was one of several big shots by Middleton. He would finish the night with 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting along with eight rebounds and six assists.

STUDS

Jaylen Brown: Strong play all game from Jaylen Brown as he finished with 20 points on 9-for-19 shooting to go with four rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. 

Malcolm Brogdon: He was Milwaukee’s most effective scorer off the bench on Sunday. Last year’s rookie of the year had 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

Jayson Tatum: This was a strong playoff debut by the 20-year-old rookie, finishing with 19 points on 8-for-18 shooting as part of a double-double that included 10 rebounds which made him just the third Celtics rookie all-time to tally a double-double in their first playoff game. 

Marcus Morris: He drained a couple of circus-like shots with the shot clock winding down, but there was a lot to like about what Morris brought to the game offensively. He scored 21 points off the bench to go with seven rebounds which was also tops among reserves for both teams.

DUDS

Eric Bledsoe: The Bucks didn’t get nearly enough impactful plays from Bledsoe who had just nine points on 4-for-12 shooting before fouling out. It’s never a good night when you finish with more turnovers (5) than assists (4), and you’re a guard. 

Jabari Parker: The Bucks seemingly had a matchup advantage with Parker coming off the bench. But like most of the Bucks, Parker struggled to ever get into any kind of rhythm as he scored just two points while missing four of his five shot attempts.

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NBA odds: Celtics' title chances rise as East playoff picture gets clearer

NBA odds: Celtics' title chances rise as East playoff picture gets clearer

The Boston Celtics needed a few days to find their bearings in the NBA bubble. But now that they're on the right track, they could be staying Orlando for a while.

The Celtics locked themselves into the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed Sunday with a 122-119 overtime win over the Orlando Magic. The victory was their third in a row after routing the Brooklyn Nets and stomping the defending champion Toronto Raptors.

One of the Celtics' major rivals, meanwhile, is heading in the other direction. The Philadelphia 76ers just lost All-Star guard Ben Simmons to a knee injury that could sideline him the entire postseason and fell to the No. 6 seed in the East with Sunday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Both the Celtics and Sixers have three seeding games remaining, but as it stands now, they'd face each other in the first round of the NBA playoffs, a matchup that Boston actually might welcome with Simmons sidelined.

In short, things are looking up the C's -- and the sportsbooks have taken notice. Here are DraftKings Sportsbook's latest 2020 NBA championship odds as of Monday morning:

1. Milwaukee Bucks: +250
2. Los Angeles Lakers: +260
3. Los Angeles Clippers: +310
4. Toronto Raptors: +1000
5. Houston Rockets: +1300
6. Boston Celtics: +1600
7. Denver Nuggets: +2500
8. Miami Heat: +2500
9. Dallas Mavericks: +4000
10. Utah Jazz: +4000
All other teams have odds worse than +4000

The Celtics entered the bubble with +2000 odds to win the title but now sit at +1600, closely behind the Raptors and Rockets.

As for the Sixers? They also had +2000 odds prior to the seeding round but have plummeted outside the top 10 to +5000 after Simmons' injury.

The Bucks, Lakers and Clippers have long been the three most serious title contenders. The Celtics have held steady as a dark horse, though, and recent developments have strengthened their championship case: Kemba Walker has looked great while ramping up from a knee injury, while Jayson Tatum has shaken off some early rust to return to All-Star form.

Boston can take its foot off the gas during its final three seeding games with the No. 3 seed wrapped up. But once the postseason begins, it's full speed ahead toward Banner 18.

Celtics' Jayson Tatum shouts out Carmelo Anthony for hitting NBA milestone

Celtics' Jayson Tatum shouts out Carmelo Anthony for hitting NBA milestone

Jayson Tatum was five years old when Carmelo Anthony entered the NBA, so he literally grew up watching the All-Star forward.

Tatum always has admired Anthony's game, so after 'Melo made NBA history in the Portland Trail Blazers' 124-121 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, the Boston Celtics forward had to show him love.

Here's Tatum's Twitter shout-out of Anthony after the 36-year-old moved to 15th on the NBA's all-time scoring list:

Anthony ironically passed Celtics legend Paul Pierce, who racked up 24,021 of his 26,397 career points in Boston.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Tatum called Anthony one of his "top three favorite players" after the Celtics and Blazers met earlier this season, so it's no wonder he was so excited to see the 36-year-old make history (even if it was at Pierce's expense).

Anthony respects Tatum's game, too: He admitted earlier this season he "loves" watching Tatum play and said the 22-year-old is "like a little brother to me."

Tatum might eye Pierce and Anthony on the all-time scoring list one day if he continues to play at a high level.