BOSTON – The Boston Celtics went outside and stayed there while knocking off the last of the NBA’s unbeatens with a barrage of 3-pointers.
The Celtics set a franchise record for 3-pointers with 24 in a 117-113 win over the Bucks on Thursday night, handing Milwaukee its first loss of the season.
“We got a lot of open looks. We were taking what they were giving us,” said Gordon Hayward, who hit three 3-pointers while scoring a season-high 18. “Those are big shots for us. We have to be able to hit those.”
Kyrie Irving led Boston with 28 points, including six 3s as the Celtics shattered the club record of 19 and came up one short of the NBA record.
Al Horford also scored 18, hitting four from beyond-the-arc, and Marcus Morris made five 3s to finish with 17 points.
“It was probably a little more than we wanted to shoot, but those were the shots that were there,” said Horford, who also led the Celtics with eight assists. “We definitely want to be better, but we did a good job. I just felt like we moved the ball well. That was encouraging to see.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the lineup after missing one game while in the NBA’s concussion protocol and led Milwaukee with 33 points and 11 rebounds.
Antetokounmpo helped lead the Bucks to a 62-22 advantage in points-in-the-paint, but it wasn’t quite enough for Milwaukee to overcome Boston’s outside shooting.
“We were all shooting really well,” Morris said. “We were just knocking them down and our guys got hot.”
Milwaukee, the last unbeaten team left in the NBA after beating Toronto on Monday night, came up just short after a furious rally in the fourth quarter.
Down 15 entering the final period, the Bucks opened on a 12-0 run and were within a point in the final minute, but the Celtics held on for their fourth straight win.
“We still think we are one of the best teams,” Antetokounmpo said. “Tonight we didn’t have an ‘A’ or ‘B’ game. Probably a ‘C’ game, but we were still close to winning the game in Boston.”
Khris Middleton and Malcom Brogdon scored 16 apiece and Eric Bledsoe had 13 points and seven assists for the Bucks.
The Celtics, whose previous record for 3-pointers was 19, came one short of tying the NBA record of 25, set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on March 4.
76ers 122, Clippers 113
In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid had 41 points and 13 rebounds, helping the 76ers beat Los Angeles.
It was Embiid’s sixth game already this season with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.
Ben Simmons added 14 points and 11 assists, bouncing back nicely from one of his worst games as a pro. Markelle Fultz provided a spark late in the third quarter and finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists while helping Philadelphia improve to 5-0 at home.
Lou Williams scored 26 points for the Clippers, and Danilo Gallinari had 25. Tobias Harris finished with 24 points.
Kings 146, Hawks 115
In Atlanta, De’Aaron Fox set career highs with 31 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double and Sacramento trounced the Hawks for its fifth straight victory.
Buddy Hield scored 27 points and Nemanja Bjelica had 19. The Kings’ winning streak includes four straight against Eastern Conference teams, including the last three on the road.
Jeremy Lin scored 23 points for Atlanta.
Thunder 111, Hornets 107
In Charlotte, Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds and Oklahoma City overcame a 19-point third-quarter deficit to beat Charlotte.
Alex Abrines had 25 points on five 3s to help the Thunder win their third straight.
Malik Monk and Kemba Walker each had 21 points for the Hornets.
Nuggets 110, Cavaliers 91
In Cleveland, Juancho Hernangomez scored 23 points, Paul Millsap added 16 and Denver rolled past the hosts.
Jordan Clarkson led the Cavaliers with 17 points.
Trail Blazers 132, Pelicans 119
In Portland, Damian Lillard scored 26 points to help the hosts beat New Orleans in the first meeting between the teams since the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
Jusuf Nurkic added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers.
Julius Randle scored 29 points, but Pelicans star Anthony Davis was sidelined by a right elbow sprain.