The Milwaukee Bucks were in top form for three quarters tonight, but the Boston Celtics mounted a massive fourth-quarter comeback to make the game interesting. Ultimately, the Bucks escaped with a home victory and pulled to within a half-game of the Brooklyn Nets for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics fell to 21-23 with the loss, clinging to eighth place in the East by a half-game.
Khris Middleton led the Milwaukee Bucks with 27 points and 13 rebounds, carrying the offensive effort on a slow night of scoring. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists, shooting just 33% from the field.
5 hits & flops from Milwaukee Bucks' home victory over struggling Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics' outstanding fourth quarter allowed them to take the final shot of the game with a chance to tie. After a full timeout with two seconds remaining, the Celtics inbounded the ball in the offensive zone and fed Daniel Theis for a two-point jumpshot. Theis narrowly missed, and the Bucks came away with a two-point victory.
Hit - Bobby Portis (Milwaukee Bucks)
Bobby Portis was a force off the bench tonight, earning 17 minutes at the center position and taking full advantage of his time on the court.
He tallied 21 points on 70% shooting in what proved to be a difference-making performance.
The 6'10" Portis averages just under 11 points per game this season, giving the Bucks quality minutes while Brook Lopez rests.
The Milwaukee Bucks needed a full-team effort for the win tonight, and Bobby Portis delivered some huge bench minutes.
Flop - Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
In a game decided by just two points, Marcus Smart's poor night of shooting stood out. He shot a mere 23% from the field, tallying 12 points and 6 assists.
Smart has struggled to find his groove this season, shooting just 39% from the field through 24 games. He is best known for his defensive prowess, but when only three of his 13 shots fall, it should be classified as a bad night.
Hit - Boston Celtics' fourth quarter
The Boston Celtics finished the third quarter with a 14-point lead, the largest of the night. This matchup was looking to be a blowout in favor of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker, who combined for 47 points, 12 boards and eight assists on the night. The Celtics pulled to within two points but could not get the ball to one of their best shooters in the final seconds.
While the Boston Celtics fell to two-games under .500 with this loss, their late effort should give fans a glimmer of hope moving forward.
Flop - Daniel Theis (Boston Celtics)
Although Daniel Theis missed the final shot of the game, his place as a flop on this list is due to a lot of other reasons.
Theis tallied just 10 points in 31 minutes, finishing with the worst court rating (-11) of the night. He was somewhat outmatched on the boards as well, pulling in just two rebounds.
The Milwaukee Bucks out-rebounded the Boston Celtics 46-38 in this battle, a figure that could have made the difference in such a close game.
Hit - Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Through all the ups-and-downs of this game, Khris Middleton provided a consistent source of offense for the Milwaukee Bucks. The 29-year-old finished with a game-high 27 points, shooting 54% from the field.
Middleton achieved yet another double-double, his eighth of the year. On a night where Giannis Antetokounmpo was somewhat silent, Khris Middleton came through in a big way for the Milwaukee Bucks.