The Boston Celtics prevailed 122-121 over the Milwaukee Bucks after Jayson Tatum hit a late three-pointer and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a free throw with less than a second remaining.
Tatum had 30 points on the night, but his most important contribution came as he drained a shot from 28 feet to put his side up 122-120.
The Bucks had outscored Boston 36-21 in the fourth quarter and were on the cusp of tying the game when Tristan Thompson fouled with 0.4 seconds remaining.
Antetokounmpo sunk the first but his second shot, needed to force overtime, hit the rim as Boston sealed the win.
Overtime was needed to split the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets, with Denver losing 124-122 despite a triple-double from Nikola Jokic.
Jokic led the scoring with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists, but it was the Kings who took the win with a Will Barton dunk blocked but Buddy Hield snared the tip-in.
Let’s Keep Growing.. 1-0 🙏🏽❤️🏀💯 pic.twitter.com/WICKTxQr0D
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) December 24, 2020
Russell Westbrook scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds and 15 assists but the Washington Wizards fell short against the Philadelphia 76ers 113-107, while last season’s defeated NBA finalists lost to the Orlando Magic by the same scoreline.
Trae Young had 37 points as the Atlanta Hawks swept past the Chicago Bulls 124-104, Ja Morant’s 44-point contribution was not enough with the San Antonio Spurs defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 131-119 and the Utah Jazz saw off the Portland Trail Blazers 120-100.
The Charlotte Hornets were downed by the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-114, the Indiana Pacers outscored the New York Knicks 121-107, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Toronto Raptors 113-99.
Karl Anthony-Towns scored 22 as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Detroit Pistons 111-101, the Phoenix Suns saw off the Dallas Mavericks 106-102, and Covid-19 saw the matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets postponed.