Celtics, Kings Claim Late Opening Wins

Jonathan Grant | December 24th, 2020

The NBA’s second night of action took place on Wednesday night, and quite frankly, it did not let us down. Not every game came down to the wire, but two of them did, and that’s not too bad for an opening night. The first of them pitted perennial Eastern Conference contenders against one another as the Milwaukee Bucks, the favorites, took on the Boston Celtics. For a while, it looked as if the Celtics were going to skate away with the win easily, as they dominated the middle two quarters to take a big lead into the fourth. However, the Bucks roared back into the game, outscoring them by 16 in the final 12 minutes.

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The fact it wasn’t 17, though, was the crucial part. Late in the going, it was all about Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time reigning league MVP. With seconds remaining, he was matched up with Jayson Tatum. Tatum, much smaller than the Greek Freak, somehow made a banked-in three-pointer to hand the Celtics a 122-120 lead. From there, Giannis was fouled as the Bucks tried to level up the game. He made the first free throw and then missed the second, allowing the Celtics to run out what little time remained and win 122-121. Giannis finished with 35 points while Jaylen Brown of the C’s had 33 of his own. Elsewhere, the Sacramento Kings also made quite a buzz on the evening as they laid claim to a 124-122 win at the expense of the Denver Nuggets in overtime. This one is going to haunt the Nuggets, too. Tied at 122, they had the ball and were holding it until the last shot. But the Kings had different plans, swooping in and stealing the ball. Harrison Barnes, though, would miss a dunk, forcing Buddy Hield, who led the Kings’ way with 22 points total, to tip at the buzzer, taking them to 1-0 on the brand new season. Nikola Jokic finished the game as the top scorer with 29 in the defeat. In other notable action, Russell Westbrook had a typical triple-double in his Washington debut, but they lost 113-107 to the 76ers.

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