Giannis Antetokounmpo will have an opportunity to score at least 40 points for the third straight game when the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Boston Celtics in a matchup of division leaders Wednesday night.
Antetokounmpo tossed in 40 during Milwaukee’s 132-125 victory over the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Saturday and followed up that performance by scoring 42 in a 142-129 win against the host Washington Wizards on Monday night.
Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 30.2 points per game this season, was 20 of 23 from the field against the Wizards. He also had 13 rebounds and eight assists.
“Unstoppable,” Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said. “He literally is unstoppable. You couple him with the other special talent that we have and it really frees him up to do what he does best.
“You’re going to have to send multiple bodies at him and that’s going to leave some really good shooters open. … Can’t stop him.”
Milwaukee has won five in a row since a 5-4 start.
“I wish it was easy,” Antetokounmpo said. “I wish I could come in and score 42 every game, but it’s hard. You’ve got to work extremely hard to get comfortable, to get in your rhythm, to get to your spot, to playmake for yourself, to playmake for your teammates. It’s hard.”
Damian Lillard added 22 points, Khris Middleton scored 18 and Bobby Portis came off the bench to contribute 17 points and eight rebounds.
“I’m ready to hoop against them (the Celtics),” Portis said. “I’m ready. It’s going to be a fun game to play in. … It’s going to be competitive. Crowd is going to get involved. It’s going to be loud. Definitely one of those (games) I can’t wait to play in.”
The Celtics are coming off a 121-118 overtime loss at Charlotte on Monday that ended the team’s six-game winning streak. Boston surrendered an 18-point first-half lead.
Jayson Tatum scored 45 points for Boston — including a career-high 31 points in the first half — but missed a free throw with 5.2 seconds left that would have tied the game after getting fouled on a 3-point shot. He made the first two attempts before he missed the third.
“Was I surprised? Yeah, I was surprised,” Tatum said “It felt good, just didn’t go in.
“We have to regroup. We had six wins in a row and it’s easy to get complacent and we paid for it (Monday).”
Tatum also had 13 rebounds and is averaging 28.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
The Celtics received five 3-pointers and 21 points from Payton Pritchard but squandered an 11-point advantage with six minutes remaining in regulation. Pritchard was 5 of 8 from behind the arc.
“I think regardless you have to take something from each game,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. “And so this was our first overtime game, it was the first time where we blew a lead and we have to go back and understand why we did it.
“It comes from taking plays off and not finishing possessions.”
Derrick White didn’t play in Boston’s loss to Charlotte for personal reasons and it’s unclear whether he will be available against Milwaukee. White is averaging 13.6 points, 4.5 assists and 3.6 rebounds.
–Field Level Media
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