Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 36 goals to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the Boston Celtics

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Floride – Giannis Antetokounmpo appeared on the way out of play. Moments later he was instead on his way to the foul line.A replay overturned what would have been the NBA’s sixth MVP foul with 1:28 remaining and he took his second chance, helping the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 119-112 on Friday night.

Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the Bucks’ opener on the restart. Milwaukee improved the NBA’s best record to 54-12 and clinched the win by seizing the Eastern Conference for the second year in a row.

Looks like the Bucks should do it without the Greek Freak when Marcus Smart slipped past a driving Antetokounmpo as he marked in the lane. A charge was called but ultimately canceled, with Smart saying the referees’ official explanation was that it was too late.

“Frankly, I think we know all about it. Giannis’ sixth foul and they didn’t want to bring him out, ”said Smart. “Let’s just call this spade a spade and that’s exactly what it is.”

The Bucks disagreed.

“I felt like he was moving on the last play, but anyway if it was a load, if it wasn’t a load, I’m happy we got the win and I’ll learn from the game, ”Antetokounmpo said.

Antetokounmpo managed the free kick to bring the score to 110-107. Khris Middleton then knocked down a 3 point for a six point advantage.

Middleton added 18 points for the Bucks, who played without Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton as they work on their conditioning after testing positive for the coronavirus. Marvin Williams sitting with a straight left groin.

Smart scored 23 points for the Celtics and Jaylen Brown was 22, but star ahead Jayson Tatum had a nightmarish reboot. He had five points in shooting 2 for 18 – even though he actually only made one basket.

Kemba Walker has scored 16 points but only played 19 minutes as the Celtics look to keep the All-Star goalie healthy after battling knee pain.

Milwaukee had lost its last three games before the season’s suspension in March, but came back looking like the team that otherwise has dominated opponents all season. The Bucks took a 17-2 lead and should have thrown a shutout. Boston’s only basket came when Antetokounmpo and Wesley Matthews tipped into Walker’s failed 3-pointer. Tatum was recognized for the basket as the Celtics’ closest player.

“I thought we had a good frame of mind in the first five minutes,” Bucks center Brook Lopez he told me.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Gordon Hayward scored 17 points and Daniel Theis had 13 points and 12 rebounds. … Boston has fallen to 3-8, counting the playoffs, against the Bucks in the past two seasons. Milwaukee eliminated the Celtics in five games in the Eastern semifinals last year.

Bucks: Lopez had six shots blocked. … Coach Mike Budenholzer has said he believes Williams’ injury is not serious and that he hopes the forward may be available soon. He believes Williams was injured in the second scrum and felt sore the next morning.

PRIZE WINNERS

The game featured all of the Eastern Conference monthly winners this season. Antetokounmpo won in October / November, December and January before Tatum landed the first of his career in February.

FOLLOWING

Celtics: Play Portland on Sunday.

Bucks: Play Houston on Sunday.

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