There will be no four-game winning streak for the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics gave a much-improved Milwaukee Bucks team everything it could handle Saturday night, rallying from as many as 14 points down in the second half, but a fourth straight victory proved elusive for Brad Stevens’ club.
Jae Crowder’s shot in the final seconds missed its mark, giving the Bucks a 96-93 win.
The length of the Bucks’ bigs — Giannis Antetokounmpo in particular — created some serious matchup problems for the Celtics, but it was one of Milwaukee’s smaller guys who did the most damage Saturday night. Point guard Brandon Knight torched the C’s in the first half, going off for 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 20 minutes. Ex-Celtic Jerryd Bayless had a strong first half, as well, scoring seven points and hitting three of his four shots.
Knight ultimately finished with a game-high 26 points, including a fadeaway jumper with 6.7 seconds remaining to ice the game.
That’s not to say Antetokounmpo was silent, though — far from it. He still finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, one steal and a number of highlight-reel plays, including a chase-down block on Evan Turner and this powerful dunk:
This kid should be fun to watch in the dunk contest next weekend.
Six players scored in double figures for the Celtics, with Jared Sullinger leading the way with 17. Marcus Thornton also continued his hot streak with 14 points, and his contributions helped Boston keep the game close in the second half.
The Celtics entered the game riding a three-game winning streak but were unable to extend it to a season-long four. Boston has not won four consecutive games since November of last season.
THE PRINCE RETURNS
Tayshaun Prince was back in action for the Celtics after missing the last three games with a hip flexor issue. Prince scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists in 18 minutes.
Prince received the minutes that lately had been going to rookie James Young. Young averaged more than 16 minutes per game in the veteran’s absence but did not leave the bench against the Bucks.
Up next: Just one game remains for the Celtics before the All-Star break, and it comes against a team that’s far and away the best in the Eastern Conference — if not the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks come to town Wednesday.
Thumbnail photo via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images