The Celtics are back, baby.
Boston pulled out a hard-fought victory over the Bucks on Wednesday, topping Milwaukee 122-121 in the season opener at TD Garden. The Bucks made things interesting down the stretch, but the C’s managed to eke out an impressive win.
Jayson Tatum came up big for Boston in the clutch, sinking a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to play. He finished the game with 30 points.
Jaylen Brown (33 points) helped lead the charge Wednesday, while Jeff Teague (19 points) and Daniel Theis (10 points) also played key roles.
Tristan Thompson looked solid in his first game in a Celtics uniform with 12 points and eight rebounds in just over 22 minutes.
The Celtics began the season 1-0 while the Bucks fell to 0-1.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Tristan Thompson
C: Daniel Theis
SLOW BUT STEADY START
There wasn’t too much daylight between the two teams in the first.
Boston looked fairly confident and remained neck-and-neck with Milwaukee early on. Thompson and Theis missed just one shot between them, combing for 10 points (including two triples from the center).
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the C’s, though. Tatum and Brown combined for 10 points as well, both going 2-for-7 in the first.
Milwaukee capitalized on Boston’s early transition issues, converting them into 11 points on the break. Donte DiVincenzo was particularly dangerous here, and led all scorers in the first with eight points.
At one point, the Bucks owned a nine-point lead. But Boston clawed its way back late in the frame to make it a three-point game after 12 minutes.
And the team can thank Teague for that.
BOSTON BATTLES BACK
It took a little effort, but the C’s finally took control in the second.
The Bucks continued to take advantage of Boston in transition, and it allowed them to maintain control of the game for much of the first half.
Giannis Antetokounmpo showed off his signature defensive skills early in the quarter with this massive block on Grant Williams.
Tatum continued to struggle, sinking just three of the 10 shots he took from the field. But Brown bounced back, nabbing 10 points in the last 2:32 and finishing the half shooting 46.2%.
Brown made up for his initial lack of offense with some much-needed defense, too.
Some solid stuff from Teague and Semi Ojeleye on both ends of the court loosened the Bucks’ grip on the game. Ojeleye gave Boston the lead back with 4:11 left in the half thanks to one heck of a triple, and boy, was it a beauty.
The C’s finished the quarter on a 25-11 run and entered halftime with a 64-59 lead.
C’S HEAT UP
The Bucks wasted no time snatching the lead back from the Celtics on a quick 7-2 run in the first 76 seconds of the third.
So, Boston returned the favor on a jumper by Theis. And it didn’t look back from there.
Brown continued to heat up, improving to 52.9% shooting by the end of the quarter. He continued to lead all scorers with 25 points through three.
Teague stayed hot, too, with six points and an assist in the third. He had 19 points in 18 minutes.
And then there’s Tatum, who hit five of his nine shots in the third after shooting just 30% in the first half.
All of this success helped Boston build a 17-point lead, which they took into the final frame. The C’s collected 101 points in the first three quarters alone.
TATUM TO THE RESCUE
Try as they might, the Bucks simply couldn’t pull it out. But they certainly made things interesting.
Milwaukee slowly chipped away at Boston’s double-digit lead, making it a two-point game midway through the quarter. Antetokounmpo led the charge with 17 fourth-quarter points, doubling his point total from the first three.
The Bucks took the lead back on an Antetokounmpo 3-pointer with 3:26 on the clock. Milwaukee was up 120-119 with 8.9 seconds left, giving Boston one last shot at victory.
And that’s where Tatum stepped in, sinking the game winning three with 0.4 second left in the game.
Boston seemed to have the game wrapped up, but a foul on Thompson brought Antetokounmpo to the line. He couldn’t finish the job, though, missing his second and final free throw to end the game.
And that’s all she wrote from TD Garden, as the C’s walked away with a thrilled 122-121 win over the Bucks.
PLAY OF THE GAME
So, nice, you’ve GOT to see it twice.
The Celtics will host Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on Christmas Day. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. ET.