Jayson Tatum Goes Off for 42 Points as Celtics Top Giannis, Bucks to Snap 3-Game SkidDecember 14, 2021
The Boston Celtics ended a three-game losing skid with a 117-103 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on Monday. Jayson Tatum had a season-high 42 points as Boston got back to .500 at 14-14.
In his first game back from a five-game absence, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown scored 19 points. Grant Williams added 17 off the bench.
After going 1-4 on their most recent road trip, some home cooking was exactly what the Celtics needed. Boston is now 7-4 on its home floor.
The Bucks fell to 18-11 and are 9-7 on the road this season. It's just their third loss in their last 15 games. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday led Milwaukee with 20 points apiece.
Notable Player Stats
F Jayson Tatum, BOS: 42 points (7-of-13 3-pt FG)
F Jaylen Brown, BOS: 19 points
F Grant Williams, BOS: 17 points (5-of-7 3-pt FG) off bench
F Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL: 20 points, 8 rebounds
G Jrue Holiday, MIL: 20 points, 8 assists
Brown's Return Makes Tatum's Life Easier
With Brown back, Monday's game was a display of what the Celtics offense has hoped to look like all season. Tatum clearly enjoyed the return of his running mate, as he was able to get easy shots over smaller defenders all night.
Brown went to the bench with an apparent knee injury early, and the Celtics fell behind by as many as 12. But things turned around quickly when he got back onto the floor.
Together, Tatum and Brown helped erase the deficit to pull ahead by as many as 11 in the third quarter.
The Celtics also seemed to play with better energy on defense while Brown was on the floor. His length and activity created problems for Milwaukee as he was constantly jumping in passing lanes, and his teammates followed his example.
Tatum was more efficient with a reliable secondary scorer next to him. In his previous two games, Tatum attempted more than 20 field goals and shot under 50 percent both times. On Monday, he shot 16-of-25.
Boston certainly hopes the team can stay healthy for the rest of the season. Monday's win showed that the Celtics can compete with the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. Brown's return could be the catalyst to Boston turning its season around.
Bucks' Stars Stifled by Celtics Defense
When Milwaukee took a 12-point lead early in the second quarter, it looked as though the team would roll to its third consecutive victory.
The Bucks opened up the game by making 17 of their first 27 shots but went cold after that, largely thanks to Boston's defense turning up. The Celtics were able to keep Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton in check, as they combined for just 11 points in the first half.
A pair of veterans spearheaded Boston's defense, as center Al Horford was particularly effective in his defense on Antetokounmpo, while Marcus Smart locked up Middleton.
The only one out of Milwaukee's Big Three to play effectively was Holiday, who scored all 20 of his points in the first three quarters. With two of its stars struggling, Milwaukee fell behind in the third quarter and had a hard time climbing back.
Things got worse when Middleton hobbled off the floor and was ruled out for the game after hyperextending his left knee near the end of the third. He finished the game with four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
The Bucks got the deficit down to nine in the fourth quarter, but they failed to get any closer.
Monday's game should cause some concern for Milwaukee. The Bucks will have to figure out the status of Middleton going forward. But the team also has to address the lack of energy and effort against a Boston team that has been middling up to this point.
The Celtics will enjoy a few days off before hosting the Golden State Warriors on Friday. The Bucks will look to bounce back Wednesday at home against the Indiana Pacers.