Credit: 2021 Getty Images-SCANPIX
Credit 2021 Getty Images-SCANPIX

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points and 12 rebounds in his return from COVID-19 protocols as the Milwaukee Bucks (22-13) rallied from 19 points down to beat the visiting Boston Celtics (16-17) 117-113 (22-35, 25-27, 43-32, 27-19) in a Christmas Day showdown on Saturday.

Player of the Game
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
EFF
34
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Points 36
Accuracy 13-23
Rebounds 12
Assists 5

Antetokounmpo finished 13-of-23 from the field and added five assists in just under 30 minutes after missing five games in the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Antetokounmpo's point-blank layup with 1:29 remaining capped a 19-7 surge for the Bucks to tie it at 111. Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left gave Milwaukee its first lead at 114-113.

Brown missed a potential go-ahead 14-foot jumper with 22.1 seconds to play and Middleton made it a three-point game with a pair of free throws with 17.8 on the clock.

Antetokounmpo blocked a dunk attempt by Robert Williams III with 7.3 seconds to go and a coach's challenge gave Milwaukee the ball back after it went out of bounds off a Celtics player. Middleton made 1-of-2 free throws at the other end to seal it.

Khris Middleton and Jrue Holliday scored 17 points apiece for Milwaukee, which won its third straight game. Bucks center Bobby Portis added 16 points and 10 boards after sitting out four games in COVID protocols.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scored 25 apiece to lead Boston, which lost for the seventh time in 11 ties.

Marcus Smart added 19 points and Payton Pritchard scored 16 off the bench for the Celtics.

Shortly before tip-off, Boston guard Dennis Schroder became the team's 13th player in over a week to enter the league's health and safety protocols.

Schroder was sidelined in COVID protocols along with Celtics guards Josh Richardson and C.J. Miles, forwards Grant Williams, Aaron Nesmith, Justin Jackson and Sam Hauser, and centers Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando.

Donte DiVincenzo scored three points in his season debut for Milwaukee after undergoing offseason ankle surgery and clearing COVID protocols.

Boston was up 62-47 at halftime after leading by as many as 19 in the second quarter.

Milwaukee surged back with a 43-point third quarter and pulled within 94-90 entering the fourth. The Celtics scored the first eight points of the final period in a 10-2 run to reclaim a double-digit advantage.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's performance

Highlights

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2022-01-10
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Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics
47%
43/91
Field goals
43%
38/89
58
Rebounds
53
24
Assists
24
7
Steals
9
36%
12/33
3-pointers
38%
17/45
123
Efficiency
115

Best players

Giannis  Antetokounmpo
36 PTS
13/23 FG
10/15 FT
Jaylen  Brown
25 PTS
8/18 FG
7/7 FT
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
12 REB
9 DREB
3 OREB
Robert  Williams
14 REB
8 DREB
6 OREB
Khris  Middleton
7 As
4 TO
36 MIN
Marcus  Smart
7 As
4 TO
40 MIN
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
34 EFF
62% 2P%
0% 3P%
Robert  Williams
22 EFF
71% 2P%
- 3P%