Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics shoots the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 23, 2020 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Boston Forward Jayson Tatum banked in a game-winning three pointer over Giannis Antetokounmpo with 1.5 seconds left to give the Celtics an 122-121 NBA season-opening victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Antetokounmpo, the two-time defending NBA Most Valuable Player, had a chance to tie it from the free-throw line with four-tenths of a second left, but the Greek superstar missed his second free throw after being fouled at the rim and the Celtics came away with the win on their home floor.

“Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be in that position,” Tatum said of stepping up despite a relatively poor shooting night.

He finished with 30 points but connected on just 12 of 28 shots from the floor.

“I don’t know what my field goal percentage was, but I know I played terrible,” said Tatum, who also pulled down seven rebounds and handed out two assists. “But it’s a team game. Everybody contributed. It’s the first one of the season, so it felt good to get a win.”

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 33 points, five rebounds and four assists

Antetokounmpo, who last week signed a five-year contract extension reportedly worth a record $228 million, led Milwaukee with 35 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

Khris Middleton added 27 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks, who finished the 2019-20 regular season with the best record in the NBA but fell to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Westbrook triple-double

Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 23, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Russell Westbrook impressed in his Washington Wizards debut, notching the first triple-double of the fledgling season with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists for his new team who nevertheless fell 113-107 to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Westbrook, traded to Washington by the Rockets for John Wall, notched the 147th triple-double of his career as he chases Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 181.

Bradley Beal added 31 points for the Wizards, but 76ers big man Joel Embiid scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and pulled down 14 rebounds for the 76ers, playing for the first time under new coach Doc Rivers.

Elsewhere, number one draft pick Anthony Edwards came off the bench to score 15 points for Minnesota and the Timberwolves rallied for a 111-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Malik Beasley led the Timberwolves with 23 points. Karl-Anthony Towns added 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, his three-pointer with 3:06 to play giving Minnesota their first lead of the game 98-97.

It was an inauspicious debut for the third overall pick in November’s draft, LaMelo Ball, who went scoreless in 16 minutes for the Charlotte Hornets, who fell 121-114 to the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Ball, younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, handed out three assists and came up with two steals.

Cleveland native Terry Rozier scored 42 points for the Hornets and Gordon Hayward, who joined the Hornets as a free agent out of Boston, added 28 but Charlotte couldn’t get past a Cavaliers team that had seven players score in double figures led by the 27 of guard Collin Sexton.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/12/24/tatum-hits-game-winner-as-celtics-edge-bucks-to-open-nba-season/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tatum-hits-game-winner-as-celtics-edge-bucks-to-open-nba-season)