Jayson Tatum knocks in wild, game-winning 3-pointers to lift Celtics over Bucks in opening night thriller

Wednesday night’s season opener between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks was a possible preview of the Eastern Conference Finals final, and if we get anything close to that kind of matchup in the playoffs, we’re in for a treat. Thanks to some heroes from Jayson Tatum, the Celtics escaped with a 122-121 victory in a thriller that came down to the final tenths of a second.

Up by as much as 17 in the second half, the Celtics saw their lead slowly evaporate, and with less than 10 seconds to play, they were down by two. However, they had the ball, which meant there was still a chance – especially with Tatum in the building. The budding superstar took the inbound pass, dimensioned reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and tried to go to work.

In fact, he had a bit of a hard time at first, walking between his legs and hesitating to no avail. In the end, he had no choice but to hoist a step back 3 that looked like it was far away when it left his hands. Luckily for Tatum and the Celtics, it turned out to be so far away that it caught the glass and fell right through the edge to give the Celtics the lead with 0.4 seconds left.

It turned out to be the game winner, though only after a dramatic sequence at the other end. Giannis was devastated when the Bucks tried to throw him a lob on inbound, sending him to the line for two free throws. He made the first, but came short on the second, which would have tied the game.

The unanswered free throw in the clutch is what everyone wants to talk about and with good reason. These are the options you have to convert when you are a back-to-back MVP and have just signed a supermax extension. But at the same time, the Bucks only had one chance because of Giannis’ previous work in the fourth quarter. He scored 18 of his 35 points at night in the final frame to get his team back in the game.

In the end, though, it wasn’t enough as the Tatum and Celtics got the big win to start their season 1-0. Tatum started a little slow but was warmed up in the second half to finish with 30 points and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown went for 33 points, five rebounds and four assists.