The Boston Celtics hosted the Milwaukee Bucks in their 2020-21 NBA season opener in a game that will go down as an instant classic. The Celtics outlasted the Bucks after a last-second game-winning shot by their young star Jayson Tatum. Tatum had a stellar game, found himself with the ball in his hands as the clock crept toward zero, and didn't miss.
The Bucks started the game on fire and took an early lead in the opening quarter. The Celtics' defense held strong behind All-Defensive selection Marcus Smart, however, and allowed their stars to get them back in the game on the offensive end.
Tatum had the hot hand on offense all night for the Celtics, finishing the night with 30 points and 7 rebounds on the way to his team's 122-121 victory. Tatum and his teammate Jaylen Brown combined for an incredible 63 combined points.
There are many positive and negative aspects of this game that both Celtics and Bucks fans can take away, but here are the five that stood out above the rest:
#1 The Boston Celtics have a superstar in Jayson Tatum
If there is anything that fans of the Celtics or just simply fans of the NBA can take from this game, it is that the Boston Celtics have a legitimate superstar-caliber player on their roster.
The star of tonight's game, Jayson Tatum, has proven to possess the skills and ability to match up to anyone in the league. Tatum has received high levels of praise since his NBA debut but had yet to break into the upper echelon of NBA stardom.
Tonight, he may have done just that. His 30 point performance over the defending regular season Eastern Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks warrants the conversation for his status as one of the best players in the NBA.
#2 The Milwaukee Bucks' offense is no joke
The Milwaukee Bucks did not play bad basketball tonight by any means. This game could have gone the other way very easily, but the Celtics hit the big shot and won the game. Regardless, the Milwaukee Bucks offense should not be underestimated.
Giannis Antetokounmpo showed out tonight, putting up 35 points with 13 rebounds. Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP, looked to be in as good of shape as he has ever been.
Jrue Holiday, a new addition for the Bucks, finished with 25 points and including a clutch three-pointer in the final minute of the game that gave his team a lead, but they could not hold on.
#3 Both teams struggled to hold a lead
While this game had many instances of great pace and fluidity, it also had many instances of inconsistency on defense and poor shot selections leading to bad possessions.
Both the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks seemed to be working out all of the early season blunders, but there was still a lack of organization that has come to be expected of these teams. Moving forward, look for the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks to clean up their streaky offenses and play more consistent basketball.
#4 Giannis needs to work on his free throws
With the physical style of basketball Giannis Antetokounmpo loves to play, he would really benefit by improving his free throw shooting. This part of his game has been his only blatant weak spot since exploding into the NBA and winning his first MVP two years ago.
Antetokounmpo had a chance to send this game to overtime with two free throws, but could only convert one of the two, and the clock struck zero as his second and final free throw hit the front iron and then the hardwood. Regardless, Giannis had a great game and looked very strong in his first outing of the season.
#5 The Boston Celtics' defense can shut offenses down
The fifth and final takeaway from this nailbiter is that the Boston Celtics' defense has the personnel and talent to lock down any offense in the league. Marcus Smart leads the way, but the young players on the Celtics follow his path to becoming excellent defenders on both the perimeter and in the paint. The Celtics had flashes of brilliance on defense, and in a 1-point victory, every hustle play matters.Published 24 Dec 2020, 09:38 IST