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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , November 1, 2018
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts  Attendance: 18,624

Bucks' Antetokounmpo returns for game in Boston

According to STATS
According to STATS

Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics

  1. This is the first meeting between these teams since Boston beat the Bucks in seven games in the first round of last year's playoffs. The home team won all seven contests, with the Celtics taking Game 7 by a score of 112-96. These teams also split their four regular-season games in 2017-18, with each winning once in Boston.
  2. With their 124-109 win over the then-unbeaten Raptors on Monday, the Bucks are the lone remaining undefeated team this season. This is the second season in franchise history they have started 7-0, with the other coming in 1971-72. That team lost its eighth game, which was also played in Boston, 125-114.
  3. Milwaukee ranks fourth in the NBA in both points (120.0) and points allowed per game (104.1). In the previous 30 seasons, four teams finished a season ranked in the top five of both: the 1991-92 Bulls, the 1992-93 SuperSonics, the 1995-96 Bulls and the 2012-13 Heat. Only Seattle failed to win the title.
  4. Including last year's playoffs, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 28.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 11 games versus Boston. He is the only player is the last 30 seasons to play more than two games against the Celtics in a season and average at least 25.0, 10.0 and 5.0 against them.
  5. The Celtics beat the Pistons for the second time in four nights on Tuesday to win their third game in a row, despite being behind at halftime. Boston has two wins this year when trailing at the half, tied with New Orleans and Sacramento for the most in the NBA, after leading last season with 20 such wins.
  6. After scoring three points on Saturday in Detroit, Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 31 on Tuesday. Even still, he is scoring 16.4 points per game this year after averaging 24.4 in 2017-18. His per-game decrease of 8.0 is the largest among 182 qualifying players (minimum 70 percent of team games played both seasons).
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

BOSTON -- The NBA's last undefeated team got some great news Wednesday ahead of a Thursday night showdown in Boston.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed Monday night's Milwaukee win over the previously unbeaten Toronto Raptors because of a concussion, was cleared Wednesday to play and leads the 7-0 Bucks into their game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.

"Of course, we have more confidence with (Antetokounmpo) on the floor, but we have a lot of confidence even when he's not on the floor due to the system, due to the confidence that (new coach Mike Budenholzer) gives us," Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon said after Monday's game.

The Bucks took the Celtics to a seventh game in the opening round of last year's playoffs -- with Boston big man Al Horford doing much of the defensive work on Antetokounmpo, able to limit the Milwaukee star.

Antetokounmpo, who averaged 25 points, 14.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game in the Bucks' first six games this season, has averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists during the regular season against the Celtics. In last year's playoff series, he averaged 25.7 points per game, but was 7 of 17 from the floor and a minus-16 in Game 7 in Boston. He was a minus-11 in the series.

The Celtics have won three in a row to shake off a slow start and move to 5-2.

Last Saturday night, the Celtics faced another unbeaten team, and swept a home-and-home series with the previously 4-0 Detroit Pistons.

Boston learned Monday that backup forward Daniel Theis would be out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis, and the Celtics could be without Jaylen Brown for this game because of a sore foot. He averaged 20.5 points per game in the first six games of last year's Milwaukee series but injured a hamstring in Game 7.

Tuesday night, Kyrie Irving, playing after a haircut, had his best game of the young season with 31 points -- on 10-of-16 shooting -- in the 108-105 win over the Pistons.

Afterward, after joking around about the haircut being the key, Irving credited Hall of Famer/broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn for his breakout game.

Heinsohn said he thought Irving, coming back from a serious knee injury, was "maybe a little out of shape," adding, "To me, it looks like he's a little overweight. And to me -- his timing, his quickness -- he's maybe an instant slower than he's been."

Irving took it the right way.

"I was on the bike the next morning," he said. "I was on the VersaClimber, I was doing everything possible to make sure I prepared my body for what's to come the rest of the season."

Suddenly, he followed a 14-point average in the first six games with a 31-point game.

"It's always great when someone challenges you like that, especially with the respect-level that I have for past Celtics legends," he said. "And for him to really kind of pinpoint, as me being one of the leaders on this team, a main (focal) point of this team, I had to be in better shape as well as challenge myself on both ends of the floor. I think he made it very clear to me."

The Celtics went 5-1 over the Bucks at TD Garden last year, including playoffs. The Bucks come in 2-0 on the road, while Boston is 2-1 at home.

The Bucks host the Sacramento Kings Sunday before heading out west for four games, while the Celtics begin a five-game trip in Indiana Saturday night before heading west for four more.

Updated November 1, 2018

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