Derrick White put his hands over his ears as Fiserv Forum voiced its displeasure over an overtime foul call on Jevon Carter. Mike Budenholzer lost his challenge four periods earlier as the Malcolm Brogdon prepared to retake the lead at the free throw line.
Jrue Holiday took eight seconds to turn their boos and twirling fingers into raucous cheers. Holiday scored 40 points and recorded three steals, pulling the game from the Celtics late as his fourth. Milwaukee beat a undermanned Celtics team, 131-125, after Sam Hauser drained a last-second three to force overtime. White, the east’s player of the week, poured in 27 points and 12 assists, leading six Celtics, including Hauser to double-figure scoring.
It wasn’t enough against familiar rivals with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford sitting. The Bucks also placed their own claim to improve next time they meet on the jumbotron midway through the game, Jae Crowder drawing applause as he works back from sitting out the start of the season. Other than him and Bobby Portis, the Bucks played the game fully healthy.
Mike Muscala scored 10 points in five minutes to secure a 20-12 lead for the Celtics, who started the game big with Grant Williams, Blake Griffin and sat Robert Williams III. Boston shot 52% in the first quarter, led by another White passing showcase after he earned player of the wee honors with back-to-back 10-assist games. He reached seven early in the second quarter with a feed to Griffin for three that maintained 52-46 Celtics lead.
The Bucks rallied behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rim runs and Khris Middleton bench rotations though, and Williams III totaled under five minutes in the first half, exiting early in the second after three possessions and sitting for the rest of the second quarter. Middleton and Jrue Holiday lead a go-ahead run midway through the quarter, then closed 13-3 into halftime while holding the Celtics to 0-for-8 shooting.
White led Boston back to start the third by finding Muscala and Griffin cutting downhill, Muscala dunking and staring down Antetokounmpo to earn a technical foul. He and Griffin hit threes to cushion their new lead, followed by a breakout Sam Hauser reverse layup and Malcolm Brogdon pull-up three that ballooned the lead to 12. They reached a game-high 14 point lead on a pair of Brogdon free throws, but Williams III returned and struggled to take advantage of a pair of post mismatches. Holiday and Joe Ingles hit threes, then Holiday buried a half court heave at the buzzer to cut the Bucks’ deficit to 95-90 in three minutes.
Middleton terrorized Payton Pritchard in transition and led a 7-0 run to reach +19 and push Milwaukee ahead, 97-95, into the fourth. Grant split a pair of defenders to dunk and White scored twice in transition after Jevon Carter heaves to pull the Celtics back into the game quickly. Hauser retook the lead with a transition three, then Middleton hit a put back and Holiday hit a three in transition to go up 108-107. Holiday reached 31 points with another three and pushed Boston behind by six points with 3:51 remaining. They didn’t hit another shot in regulation.
The Celtics came back starting with a Hauser put back following his own missed three and Giannis’ block on Grant’s follow try. He pumped his fist and the Celtics stopped Holiday at the rim, but White lost the ball in transition as Ingles dove on the ball, who won the jump ball. Antetokounmpo ran past half court into White. One more chance for Boston with two minutes left.
White hit a pair of free throws and Giannis missed one. Antetokounmpo had fallen to the floor moments earlier in pain after traveling inside, but returned to his feet and missed another look inside that allowed Brogdon to take an open dunk and cut the lead to one. Holiday hit his free throws and Hauser ran to the top of the arc, fired and sent the game to overtime.
White scored five straight points to start the extra period before Holiday and Antetokounmpo cut their lead to one possession at the free throw line. Holiday stole the ball from White and ran full court for a slam and Muscala air balled from the left wing, setting up Grayson Allen for a pair of go-ahead free throws in the other other direction. Brogdon charged to the rim into Carter, who grazed his jersey and sent the arena into a frenzy over the late call.
Holiday hit a go-ahead three to reach 40 points and the Bucks turned up the pressure toward half court, forcing White to dump off to Grant in the left corner, who gave the ball up to Allen. Multiple Bucks ran in the other direction and away with the win.
The Celtics return to TD Garden on Wednesday for their final game before the all-star break against Detroit.