Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 96, Bucks 89

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

The 3-ball just wasn’t falling for the Boston Celtics during the first half of Thursday’s matchup in Milwaukee. They hit only 3-of-16 from downtown during the first 24 minutes of play.

But, as we all know, basketball is a hot-and-cold type of game. And boy, did the Celtics heat up from deep during the third quarter.

Boston connected on 5-of-6 from 3-point range during the third frame, including three straight triples that helped key a critical 15-6 run to end the quarter.

The C’s had been trailing 63-57 with 4:14 left in the third, when Kyrie Irving hit a step-back jumper to cut the lead to four.

Then came the 3s.

Horford hit the first two on consecutive possessions to put the C’s up 65-63. The Bucks then scored six straight points to go back up by two, but Jaylen Brown halted their momentum with another trey to bring Boston back to within one.

Aron Baynes hit two free throws that gave Boston a permanent lead, and Horford finished off the quarter by laying in an alley-oop buzzer beater off of in inbound pass from Irving.

Boston took the momentum and ran with it through the final 12 minutes of the game, as it outscored the Bucks 24-20 in the fourth, and came out on top with a 96-89 win.

Key Player

Tito Horford was drafted by Milwaukee in June of 1988 – just two months after the Bucks played their final game at the MECCA. The 7-foot-1 center barely missed his chance of playing at Milwaukee's historic arena, but 29 years later, his son stepped onto its renowned bright hardwood, and made him proud.

The Bucks re-opened the MECCA Thursday night when it hosted the Boston Celtics in a throwback game.

Milwaukee, however, could not bask in the glory of its former arena, as Horford stole the spotlight by putting together the best offensive game of his Celtics career.

The veteran big man, who was spotted earlier in the day gleefully snapping pictures inside the old arena, connected on 11-of-14 field goal attempts to tie his Celtics career-high of 27 points. Thirteen of those points came during the third quarter, which included three of his four 3-pointers, along with a layup that beat the buzzer to end the frame.

Horford also corralled nine rebounds, dished out four assists and blocked one shot to cap off a well-rounded performance.

It was a special night for the Bucks as they returned to their former arena. But it was even more special for the Horford family, as Al dominated the court that his father nearly called home, while leading his team to a win.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Al Horford tied his Celtics career high with 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo logged one more point than Horford for a game-best 28 points.
  • Kyrie Irving finished with 24 points and tied Antetokounmpo for the game-high in assists with seven..
  • Boston shot 19-of-22 (86.4 percent) from the free throw line.
  • Milwaukee only made 14 trips to the charity stripe, where it sunk eight shots.
  • Jaylen Brown corralled a career-high 10 rebounds, which led the team.
  • The Celtics shot 5-of-6 from 3 during the third quarter, after shooting just 3-of-16 from deep during the first half.
  • Aron Baynes was Boston's key cog off the bench, as he logged 12 points, seven boards, and a game-best plus-12 rating.
  • Boston out-rebounded the Bucks, 47-37.
  • The Celtics turned the ball over seven times during the first quarter, but only coughed it up eight more times during the remainder of the game.

Quote of the Night

I know that if I get in a jam, he's got my back.

Al Horford on Aron Baynes.

Key Player