Keys to the Game
Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

Go ahead and remove “LOG A SIGNATURE WIN” off of Boston’s to-do list. It made noise Wednesday night by downing the reigning MVP and his team, which won a league-best 60 games last season. And it was done in the loudest of fashion.

Boston trailed by 16 points at halftime and by as many as 19 points during the first half. It looked dead in the water as it floundered at both ends.

But when the third quarter opened up, a new script had been written, one that featured an inspired Celtics team at both ends of the court. They looked more dominant than they had all season – and against one of the top teams in the NBA.

From 16 down to four up, Boston picked the Bucks apart for the entire third quarter, outscoring Milwaukee by 20 points during the period. The C’s shot 54.2 percent during the quarter while hitting six treys and were led by 11 points from Jayson Tatum and 10 points from Gordon Hayward.

The key sequence of the quarter of dominance revolved around Tatum and took place during the final minute of the frame.

After Kemba Walker brought the C’s to within two, Tatum swatted away a layup attempt by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo at the other end of the court – a block that wound up in the hands of Rob Williams. Boston quickly took the ball in the other direction and got it into the hands of Walker. The point guard patiently assessed the floor and dribbled from left to right along the top of the arc before dropping a pass off to the trailing Tatum. Tatum caught the ball, took two steps, quickly settled into his shot and fired one up from the top of the arc.


With that, the Celtics had gained their first lead since the score was 2-1 at the start of the game. Less than a minute later, they built on that lead with another trey from Tatum.

With six seconds left in the quarter, the third-year forward faced up on George Hill and sized his defender up. Tatum realized that he could get his shot off over the top of the 6-foot-3 Hill whenever he wanted, and so that’s exactly what he did. Tatum threw a jab step and quickly stepped back to the left and behind the line to fire up a trey from the top of the arc that hit nothing but net and sent TD Garden into hysteria.

That was the loudest the building sounded all night, and for good reason. The C’s had just taken control of a game they seemed destined to lose in embarrassing fashion just one quarter prior.

Boston rode the wave of momentum all the way to the finish line for a 116-105 win – a signature win against one of the best teams in the league, and the team that eliminated the C’s from the Playoffs a season ago.

Key Player

While Kemba Walker scored 32 points Wednesday night for the second time in as many games, it’s another Celtic who earned our Key Player award. His name is Gordon Hayward.

Hayward was Boston’s most efficient bulk scorer during the team’s comeback win over the Bucks, and he was also the team’s top rebounder and playmaker.

Let’s start out with the efficiency. Hayward scored 21 points while shooting 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from long distance. None of the other three Celtics who scored more than 11 points shot better than 45.5 percent from the field.

Now, on to the other two main categories: rebounds and assists. Hayward hauled in a team-best and season-best 10 boards on the night, all of which were grabbed at the defensive end. He also dished out a game-high, team-high and season-high seven assists in the game. Those seven helpers matched his total from the first three games of the season.

Hayward also pitched in a steal and a block for good measure during nearly 38 minutes of action.

Walker was great, and Jayson Tatum played a significant role in the comeback with his scoring, but Hayward was consistent on all levels and was a key cog in Boston’s incredible comeback. He deserves a call-out for his efforts.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston scored 74 points during the second half after scoring just 42 during the first half.
  • Kemba Walker scored 32 points for the second straight game.
  • Walker tied his career high with 14 made free throws. He shot 14-for-15 from the line on the night.
  • The C's limited Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 13 shots, which was the sixth-highest total in the game.
  • Walker (four 3s) and Marcus Smart (five 3s) combined to make nine of Boston's 17 3-pointers.
  • Both teams grabbed 45 rebounds.
  • Three Celtics dished out at least six assists (Gordon Hayward with seven, and Walker and Smart with six apiece).
  • Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 26 points.
  • Antetokounmpo led the game with 14 rebounds.
  • Hayward led the Celtics with 10 rebounds, led the game with seven assists, and also tallied 21 points.
  • Boston trailed by as many as 19 points during the first half before leading by as many as 13 points during the second half.
  • Both teams scored 34 points in the paint.
  • The Celtics committed only 10 turnovers.

Quote of the Night

I do think that sometimes you do have to hit singles to come back, because you hit home runs to go down ... That's my Game 7, World Series analogy. Let's all go watch the baseball game.

Brad Stevens on his team's play

Key Player

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