MILWAUKEE—The Milwaukee Bucks wanted to play a game in the aging arena where the team got its start to celebrate the franchise’s half-century in existence.Al Horford and the Boston Celtics spoiled the party.Horford had 27 points and nine rebounds, held league scoring leader Giannis Antetokounmpo in check for long stretches and sank back-to-back 3-pointers late in the third quarter as the Celtics beat the Bucks 96-89 on Thursday night.
”He was great on both ends of the floor,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. ”He guarded Giannis a large part of the night and I thought did a great job on him and then he obviously hit the big 3s.”
Kyrie Irving added 24 points and seven assists for Boston, which avenged a loss to Milwaukee in Boston earlier this month.The game was played at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as the MECCA, which served as the Bucks’ home from 1968 until the team moved into the Bradley Center in 1988. The Bucks chose to play one game this season at the 11,000-seat arena to mark the team’s 50th anniversary. The Bucks will move into a new arena next season.Antetokounmpo had 28 points. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon added 15 apiece.Antetokounmpo, who came into the game leading the league with nearly 37 points per game, scored just 11 in the first half before matching that total in the third quarter as the Bucks built a seven-point lead midway through the period.