NBA roundup: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks top Celtics in their restart opener

The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo drives to the basket July 31, 2020.
The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, who nearly had a triple-double, drives to the basket in Milwaukee’s 119-112 victory over Boston.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Giannis Antetokounmpo appeared on his way out of the game. Moments later, he was instead on his way to the foul line.

A replay overturned what would have been the NBA most valuable player’s sixth foul with 1:28 left and he made the most of 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’ first game in the restart. Milwaukee improved the NBA’s best record to 54-12 and moved within a victory of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year.


It appeared the Bucks would have to do it without “the Greek Freak” when Marcus Smart slid in front of a driving Antetokounmpo as he scored in the lane. A charge was called but eventually overturned, with Smart saying the official explanation from referees was that he was too late.

The Lakers defeated the Clippers 103-101 in a back-and-forth game with plenty of drama down to the last shot. Here are five takeaways from the game.

July 31, 2020

“Quite frankly, I think we know all what that was all about. Giannis’ sixth foul and they didn’t want to get him out,” Smart said.

The Bucks disagreed.

“I felt like he was moving on the last play, but either way if it was a charge, if it was not a charge, I’m happy that we got the win and I’ll learn from the play,” Antetokounmpo said.

Antetokounmpo made the free throw to make it 110-107. Khris Middleton then knocked down a three-pointer for a six-point advantage.

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

Smart scored 23 points for the Celtics and Jaylen Brown had 22, but star forward Jayson Tatum had a nightmarish restart. He had five points on two-for-18 shooting — though he actually only made one basket.


Kemba Walker scored 16 points but played just 19 minutes as the Celtics look to keep the All-Star guard healthy after he has been battling a sore knee.

Milwaukee lost its final three games before the season was suspended in March but came back looking like the team that otherwise overpowered opponents all season. The Bucks broke to a 17-2 lead and should have been pitching a shutout. The lone Boston basket came when Antetokounmpo and Wesley Matthews tipped in Walker’s missed three-pointer. Tatum was given credit for the basket as the closest Celtics player.

“I thought we had a great mind-set coming out in the first five minutes,” Bucks center Brook Lopez said.

Rockets 153, Mavericks 149 (OT): James Harden scored 49 points, and Houston outlasted Dallas in overtime in its first game in the NBA bubble.

Harden sank one of two free throws before Trey Burke made a three-pointer to get the Mavericks within three with about 15 seconds left in OT. Harden made one of two free throws after that, Burke missed a three, and Harden got the rebound to secure the victory.

Dallas led by three before Harden made the first of two free throws, and Robert Covington tipped in a miss on the second to tie it with 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Luka Doncic missed a shot at the buzzer to send it to overtime.


Kristaps Porzingis had 39 points and 16 rebounds for Dallas, and Doncic had a triple-double with 28 points 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Harden, who had 23 points in the first quarter, passed Calvin Murphy to become the second-leading scorer in franchise history behind Hakeem Olajuwon.

Trail Blazers 140, Grizzlies 135 (OT): CJ McCollum scored 33 points, teaming with Damian Lillard for 11 of Portland’s 16 in overtime, and the Trail Blazers pulled out a desperately needed victory to resume their season by beating Memphis.

Lillard finished with 29 points and nine assists to help the Trail Blazers boost their hopes for a seventh consecutive playoff appearance. Carmelo Anthony added 21 points as Portland moved within 2½ games of the Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.

The Lakers’ 103-101 defeat of the Clippers in a cramped, quiet Disney World gym was played as if both teams were hanging out in a Figueroa hallway.

July 31, 2020

Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 33 points and rookie Ja Morant added 22 points and 11 assists for Memphis.

Magic 128, Nets 118: Evan Fournier scored 24 points, Nikola Vucevic had 22, and Orlando picked up where it left off before the NBA season was suspended in defeating Brooklyn.


Playing as the designated road team not far from their arena, the Magic looked right at home at Disney — whose name they wear as their jersey patch. They extended their winning streak to four and moved back ahead of the Nets into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac declined to kneel for the national anthem before an NBA game because of religious beliefs, not a disagreement with BLM.

Aug. 1, 2020

Brooklyn also won its last three before the stoppage, but the decimated team that returned is a shell of the one that beat the Lakers in Los Angeles in its final game. The Nets are missing Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince after they tested positive for the coronavirus. They are already playing without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who had season-ending surgery.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 24 points for the Nets.

Spurs 129, Kings 120: DeMar DeRozan scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to help San Antonio beat Sacramento.

Before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and assistant Becky Hammon stood for the national anthem while the remainder of the coaches and players for both teams knelt.

DeRozan shot 10 for 13 and had 10 assists, and the Spurs shot 53.3% from the field.

Derrick White matched a career high with 26 points in San Antonio’s first game of the restart. The Spurs needed to find offense because LaMarcus Aldridge, the team’s No. 2 scorer, had shoulder surgery in April and will not play in the restart.

De’Aaron Fox scored a career-high 39 points for the Kings.

Suns 125, Wizards 112: Devin Booker scored 27 points, Deandre Ayton added 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Phoenix beat Washington.


Booker made all nine of his free throws, and the Suns hit 30 of 32 from the line. They shot 52% from the field, with Ayton hitting two of three three-pointers and going 11 for 14 overall.

Rui Hachimura scored 21 points and Jerome Robinson added 20 for the Wizards on coach Scott Brooks’ 55th birthday.