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Mar 19, 2024 8:13 pm

NBA-best Celtics aim to continue run, host Bucks

derrick white

The Boston Celtics have an opportunity to extend their six-game winning streak when they face the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

Boston (54-14) owns the NBA’s best record with 14 regular-season games to play. The Celtics were without leading scorer Jayson Tatum (27.1 ppg), Al Horford and Jrue Holiday, but managed to stretch their home winning streak to nine games by beating the Detroit Pistons 119-94 Monday night.

Point guard Derrick White recorded the first triple-double of his NBA career during the victory over Detroit. He finished the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

“I’m happy for him,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. “He’s continued to grow as a two-way player on both sides of the ball. I don’t know how many blocks he had or steals, but the triple-double is an example of who he is as a player, but it doesn’t show how great he is on both ends of the floor.”

Kristaps Porzingis had missed Boston’s past five games with a tight hamstring, but returned to the court Monday and had 20 points and eight rebounds. Porzingis said he’s trying to keep his body in the best shape possible for the postseason.

“Definitely more cautious here,” Porzingis said. “I could have played through more stuff, 100 percent. But I understand that there will be a time and place for me to play through stuff.

“Especially at this point in the season, we’re in a pretty good spot, and we know what the most important thing is, is the playoffs. And that’s what we need to be — healthy, fresh and ready to leave everything out there.”

Milwaukee (44-24) was without Giannis Antetokounmpo, but made 24 3-pointers en route to a 140-129 home victory over Phoenix on Sunday.

The Bucks matched an NBA record by tossing in 18 3-pointers in the first half.

Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 30.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, was scratched with left hamstring soreness.

“It’s not an injury, we’re just concerned a little bit,” Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers said. “We planted it (taking the night off) in him and he had to do it. We were happy he decided to do it.

“With Giannis out we had to space the floor and take (3-pointers) and I thought our guys did that well.”

Milwaukee’s Damian Lillard had 31 points and 16 assists in the victory and became the first player in franchise history to have at least 30 points and at least 15 assists in the same game.

The Bucks also received a 22-point performance from Khris Middleton, who returned after missing 16 games while recovering from a sprained ankle. Middleton played 25 minutes and also had seven assists.

“(Middleton) looked great to me,” Lillard said. “He really took his time to make sure he was right. At our age, how long we’ve been in this league and how many miles we’ve got on our bodies, we know our bodies, when we should be coming back.

“Coming off injury, he made a great decision to wait all the way up until he felt right. … His game just looked sharp.”

Wednesday’s game will be the third meeting between the Bucks and Celtics this season. Boston won 119-116 at home on Nov. 22, and Milwaukee earned a 135-102 home victory on Jan. 11.

–Field Level Media

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