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NBA: Celtics edge Bucks on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s missed free throw

Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown defends against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart (36) and Jaylen Brown (7) defends against Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second half on Wednesday in Boston.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

Jayson Tatum banked in a fallaway, go-ahead 3-pointer in the final second, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the potential tying free throw with 0.4 seconds left, allowing the Boston Celtics to escape with a 122-121 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night in the teams’ season opener.

Tatum scored 30 points and Jaylen Brown had 33 for Boston, which entered the fourth quarter leading by 17 points. The Celtics trailed 120-119 when Tatum dribbled the clock down from 8.9 seconds before lofting a high-arcing 3 over Antetokounmpo from the left side that kissed the glass on its way down.

The ensuing inbounds pass was thrown at the rim and Antetokounmpo tried to tip it in, but he was fouled. The two-time reigning NBA MVP made the first foul shot, but bounced the second off the front of the rim.

Antetokounmpo scored 18 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and Khris Middleton had 27 points and 14 rebounds for Milwaukee. The Bucks had the best record in the NBA in each of the past two seasons but didn’t make it out of the Eastern Conference finals.

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Milwaukee led by nine points, 48-39, midway through the second quarter before Boston rolled off 10 straight points and 19 of the next 23. Boston led 101-84 after three, but Antetokounmpo outscored the Celtics 10-2 over a two-minute span midway through the fourth to cut a 10-point Celtics lead to 109-107.

Kings 124, Nuggets 122, OT

Buddy Hield tipped in Harrison Barnes’ miss at the buzzer, lifting Sacramento past Denver in overtime.

Nikola Jokic recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists, but he had a crucial offensive foul with 2.6 seconds left in regulation and lost the ball on the inbounds with 6.5 seconds left in overtime when Barnes punched it loose.

Hield led Sacremento with 22 points, and Barnes and De’Aaron Fox each added 21 for the Kings. They snapped a six-game skid in Denver, where they had last won on Jan. 3, 2017.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 24 points for Denver, but playoff star Jamal Murray was held to five points and was 1-for-9 shooting before fouling out late in regulation.

Pelicans 113, Raptors 99

JJ Redick converted a four-point play with just over a minute remaining and finished with 23 points, Brandon Ingram had 24 points, and New Orleans overcame an 11-point deficit and beat Toronto.

Because of the current Canadian restrictions on cross-border travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Raptors are scheduled to play their first 17 “home” games at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. The second half of the NBA’s schedule will be released later.

Zion Williamson had a big second half for the Pelicans and finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds to help deliver new coach Stan Van Gundy a victory in his New Orleans debut.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 20 points. Kyle Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists in the opener for both teams.

Magic 113, Heat 107

Evan Fournier gave Orlando the lead with a late 3-pointer, converted a three-point play in the final minute and scored 25 points in the Magic’s victory over Miami.

Aaron Gordon had 20 points and seven rebounds for Orlando, Terrence Ross added 19 points, Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Markelle Fultz also had 15 points.

Bam Adebayo led Miami with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Goran Dragic added 20 points, and Jimmy Butler had 19 points and seven assists.

76ers 113, Wizards 107

Joel Embiid scored the go-ahead basket with 1:09 left and had 29 points and 14 rebounds to help Philadelphia spoil Russell Westbrook’s triple-double Washington debut.

Westbrook and Bradley Beal were fantastic in the backourt in the opening-night paring that nearly handed 76ers coach Doc Rivers a loss in his Philadelphia debut. Westbrook had 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds.

Embiid and Shake Milton, who scored 19 points off the bench, were the go-to scorers late, and Ben Simmons sealed the victory with a monster dunk in the waning moments. Simmons had 16 points.

Spurs 131, Grizzlies 119

DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and nine assists, Dejounte Murray added 21 points and San Antonio overcame Memphis star Ja Morant’s 44-point game.

Morant -- the reigning rookie of the year -- had 34 of his points in the second half. While that helped carry the Grizzlies offensively, it wasn’t enough to put a deep dent in San Antonio’s double-digit lead through much of the second half. Morant also had nine assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points for San Antonio.

Cavaliers 121, Hornets 114

Collin Sexton scored 27 points, Darius Garland added 22 and Cleveland won its first home game in nearly 300 days, overcoming the hot shooting of Terry Rozier to beat Charlotte.

Hyped rookie LaMelo Ball didn’t score in his NBA debut with Charlotte, and Hornets center Cody Zeller broke his left hand. Ball went 0 for 5 from the floor and had three assists in 16 minutes.

Rozier made a career-high 10 3-pointers and scored 42 points to lead the Hornets. Gordon Hayward scored 28 points in his first game for Charlotte.

Hawks 124, Bulls 104

Trae Young scored 37 points and revamped Atlanta pounded Chicago, spoiling Billy Donovan’s debut as Bulls coach.

Atlanta shot 54% from the field. Cam Reddish had 15 points and John Collins finished with 14.

Looking for their first playoff berth since 2017, the Hawks signed Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn during free agency. Rondo and Dunn were held out on opening night, but Bogdanovic had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Gallinari scored 13 points.

Zach LaVine scored 22 points for the Bulls, and Lauri Markkanen had 21 points and seven rebounds.

Timberwolves 111, Pistons 101

Malik Beasley scored 23 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, leading Minnesota past Detroit.

D’Angelo Russell pitched in 18 points, and Anthony Edwards — the first overall pick in the NBA draft last month — added 15 points as the Timberwolves overcame a deficit that often reached double digits and was still 12 points midway through the third quarter.

Josh Jackson had 19 points for Detroit, and Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose each had 15.

Pacers 121, Knicks 107

Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 32 points and Victor Oladipo added 16 of his 22 in the second half, leading Indiana past New York.

Sabonis also had 13 rebounds to help new coach Nate Bjorkgren celebrate his first career victory.

RJ Barrett finished with 26 points, and Alec Burks had 22 for New York.

Jazz 120, Trail Blazers 100

Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds, leading Utah past Portland.

Gobert controlled the inside and got plenty of support from the outside as Utah shot 19 of 50 from the 3-point line.

Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic all made four 3-pointers and Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson knocked down three apiece. Mitchell also scored 20 points.

Damian Lillard was scoreless in the first half and finished with only nine points and seven assists for Portland. CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 23 points.

Suns 106, Mavericks 102

Devin Booker scored 22 points, Mikal Bridges added 18 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-102 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Chris Paul had eight points and five assists in his debut with Phoenix. The 10-time All-Star was quiet for much of the game but made a few clutch plays in the final minutes.

Paul hit a 15-footer with 1:20 left to give the Suns a three-point lead. Booker followed with a long jump shot to make it 105-100. Luka Doncic cut the Suns’ lead to three with a dunk but after a Booker miss, Bridges grabbed the offensive rebound and Phoenix closed out the victory.

Doncic looked rusty and hesitant at times in the first half, shooting just 5 for 15 from the field. He showed why he is in the MVP conversation in the second half, leading the Mavs with 32 points. Josh Richardson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson all scored 12 points.

Phoenix got big contributions from its bench. Cameron Johnson scored 15 points while Cameron Payne and Langston Galloway both added 11. Galloway did his scoring in just nine minutes on the floor.


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