The Milwaukee Bucks rallied back from 17 points down with a huge fourth quarter, but Jayson Tatum's game-winner denied them the chance to cap-it off with a win.
He banked-in a 3-pointer over the two-time reigning MVP and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Giannis Antetokounmpo, giving the Celtics a 122-120 lead with only 0.4 seconds on the game-clock.
Tatum calls GAME.#PhantomCam x #KiaTipOff20 pic.twitter.com/8WVvODPzYW- NBA (@NBA) December 24, 2020
His shot is the fourth go-ahead field goal in the final second of a season-opener in the last 25 NBA seasons.
It gave Tatum his 30th point for the game while teammate Jaylen Brown had already recorded 33 points, making the duo the first Celtics teammate in franchise history to finish with at least 30 points in a season opener.
"This is a big team win," Tatum said in his on-court postgame interview with TNT.
"Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be in that position."@jaytatum0 on having confidence in end-of-game situations. pic.twitter.com/AF2Pjyn59V- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 24, 2020
Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson were the other stars for the Celtics. Teague came off the bench to finish with 19 points, four assists, and two steals in 25 minutes while Tristan Thompson recorded 12 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Given the context of the game and the Bucks' fourth-quarter play, Celtics coach Brad Stevens had a slightly different view on the shot.
"Tatum's a good offensive player," Stevens said of the game's penultimate play. "He can get his shot up. It was a well-challenged shot. It was a well-defended shot. Guess we were lucky it went in."
Over the middle two quarters, the Celtics outscored the Bucks 70-50 but Milwaukee came back into the game by outscoring the hosts 36-18 in the fourth quarter before Tatum's shot.
The visitors were powered by huge games from their big three of Antetokounmpo (35 points, 13 rebounds), Khris Middleton (27 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists), and Jrue Holiday (25 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals).
The Greek Freak in Boston:- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 24, 2020
35 PTS & 13 REB pic.twitter.com/9ghWvhixMG
The Greek Freak had a chance to extend the game and force overtime even after Tatum's shot but he missed the second of his two free-throws, giving the Celtics the 122-121 win.
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