Despite being down Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart, the Boston Celtics forced overtime on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks, which have won 11 in a row and own the NBA’s second-best record at 40-17.
Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, Mike Muscala, and Blake Griffin all helped Boston reach that point, as well as Sam Hauser, who buried a preposterous three off the bounce over Khris Middleton with only a few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The long ball marked Hauser’s third of the night and gave him 15 points in regulation. He also added nine rebounds and two assists.
The bucket probably carried a little extra weight for Hauser, who’s a Green Bay, Wisconsin, native.
Ultimately, Milwaukee climbed out of an early overtime hole and extended its winning streak to 11, headlined by a late triple from Jrue Holiday. Yet Tuesday was another impressive performance over the past seven days from a significantly shorthanded Celtics club against a fellow top-three team in the East. Last week, they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 106-99, inside TD Garden.
Much like last season, both the Bucks and Boston figure to factor prominently into the Eastern Conference playoff outlook. The win for Milwaukee moved it to just half a game behind the 41-17 Celtics for the No. 1 seed, in spite of Hauser’s temporary late game heroics.