Jayson Tatum stepped up twice in three minutes with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and hit both shots – one a fading jumper from the baseline and the other a 3-pointer with jump start.
Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, missed a wide open attempt just yards from the hoop and skipped the crucial free throw of the game in the Celtics' dramatic 122-121 win over the Bucks early in the 2020-21 season.
What Tatum hopes will be the first campaign in which he makes a compelling MVP case that gets off to a scorching start against the incumbent. And Boston is hoping a year of breakthroughs in the Eastern Conference started with a positive result against a possible playoff opponent.
Tatum finished with 30 points and seven rebounds. Antetokounmpo posted a line with 35 points and 13 rebounds but also posted seven turnovers.
MORE: Missile Game Postponed, Harden Punished
The first significant late sequence with Tatum and Antetokounmpo lasted about three minutes in the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo wove around a pimple, ball in hand, for an easy push-shot opportunity. He missed it. At the other end, Tatum dug a sweater into his face.
Tatum then gave Boston the lead with a 3 point shot from the glass with 0.4 seconds left. Again Antetokounmpo was assigned to the striker and could not stop him.
After a questionable foul call gave the Bucks the chance to send the game into extra time, Antetokounmpo missed a free throw.
The Bucks with exciting newcomer Jrue Holiday have to wait a week for the next matchup with an East contender. You play the Heat in consecutive games next Tuesday and Wednesday.