Watch as Tatum scores 40 points, Brown scores 30 points, Celtics blow out Bucks (again) 140-99

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 40 points, Jaylen Brown added 30 and the Boston Celtics defeated the NBA leaders Milwaukee Bucks 140-99 on Thursday night.

The Celtics (53-24) shot 22 of 43 from 3-point range and moved within two games ahead of the Bucks (55-22) in the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics won the season series with the Bucks 2-1, which would give Boston the tiebreak if both teams finish on the same record.

Boston’s performance in those three games against Milwaukee should give the Celtics plenty of confidence that they could knock out the Bucks again when they meet in the postseason. The Celtics beat the Bucks in seven games in last season’s East semifinals.

The Celtics defeated the Bucks 139-118 on Christmas Day in Boston and lost 131-125 in overtime on February 14. The Celtics didn’t play Brown, Tatum, Markus Smart or Al Horford in this overtime loss.

Milwaukee has scored a hit both on floor and overall. Bucks forward Khris Middleton left the game midway through the third quarter after elbowing Brown in the face. The play resulted in a charge foul on Brown and resulted in Middleton receiving stitches in his upper lip.

Boston built a 114-74 lead over three periods, resulting in most of both teams’ starters sitting out the entire fourth quarter.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 24 points.

It was the Bucks’ most one-sided loss this season. They fell at Memphis on December 15, 142-101.

The Bucks played one night after a 149-136 win in Indiana in which they posted a season-high 62.4% Jrue Holiday with 51 points and Antetokounmpo with 38 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. This was the first time an NBA team had a triple-double in the same game for one player with at least 50 points and another with at least 35 points.

Milwaukee found it a little tougher on Thursday.

Antetokounmpo shot just 11 of 27, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range. Holiday started his night with a pocketed 3-pointer but went the rest of the way as 1 of 7 and finished with just six points.

After nine lead changes and five draws in the opening 8½ minutes of the game, the Celtics took control with a 29-9 lead going into the final seven-plus minutes. Boston capped that sprint with 13 points in a row.

Boston didn’t let up for the rest of the night.

Milwaukee’s Thanasis Antetokounmpo was ejected 1:25 left for a headbutt against Boston Blake Griffins. The headbutt came after Griffin committed a flagrant 1 foul on Antetokounmpo.

Learn more about the Celtics

NBA Power Rankings: Bucks hold top spot, but Nuggets and Grizzlies are… PBT Podcast: Kings a Playoff Threat? Plus a summer free agent talk. Jaylen Brown on Celtics future: ‘I will stay where I’m needed…

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