BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 28 points, making six of Boston’s franchise record 24 3-pointers, as the Celtics knocked off the last unbeaten team in the NBA with a 117-113 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.
Gordon Hayward added a season-high 18 points, Al Horford also scored 18 and Marcus Morris had 17 points for the Celtics, who held off the Bucks in the final minute and put an end to Milwaukee’s unbeaten start.
Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the lineup after missing one game while in the NBA’s concussion protocol and led Milwaukee with 33 points and 11 rebounds.
Down 15 entering the fourth quarter, the Bucks opened the final period on a 12-0 run and were within a point in the final minute, but the Celtics held on for their fourth straight win.
Khris Middleton and Malcom Brogdon scored 16 apiece and Eric Bledsoe had 13 points and seven assists for the Bucks.
The Celtics, whose previous record for 3-pointers was 19, came one short of tying the NBA record of 25, set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on March 4.
Boston didn’t score in the fourth until Jayson Tatum hit a 3-pointer with 9:13 left in the game. Milwaukee continued to push and pulled within 113-112 when Bledsoe made 1 of 2 from the foul line with 13 seconds.
That was as close as the Bucks would get as the Celtics sealed it from the foul line.
Irving hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the second quarter and Boston led 55-53 at halftime. He opened the second half with three straight from beyond-the-arc and the Celtics appeared to be cruising with a 93-78 lead entering the fourth quarter.
There was an extended time out midway through the first quarter, when Red Sox manager Alex Cora carried the World Series championship trophy onto the court, followed by his players.
Fans roared when Cora led the team out of the tunnel and got louder each time a player hoisted the trophy high for the fans to continue a celebration that started Sunday with a series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
To punctuate the visit, fans broke out in a round of their favorite derogatory chant about the rival New York Yankees.
Bucks: Antetokounmpo returned to practice Wednesday and was cleared to play Thursday. He was injured Saturday by a blow to the head during in a game against Orlando. Antetokounmpo said it was his first concussion.
Celtics: Boston’s previous franchise record for 3-pointers was 19, done twice, most recently Jan. 16 in a win over New Orleans. . G Jaylen Brown was out with a sore right foot. . Semi Ojeleye, who played all of 24 minutes and scored two points through the first seven games, started for Brown and scored 10 points. . Hayward’s previous high this season was 15 points.
Bucks: Host the Sacramento Kings on Sunday afternoon.
Celtics: Visit Indiana on Saturday night in the first of five straight on the road.
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