Irving, Celtics overpower Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo top-scored with 40 points but Boston edged clear thanks to Irving and Al Horford, who weighed in with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics improved to 21-4.
Rookie Jayson Tatum added 17 -- including 14 in a first quarter hot streak -- while Aron Baynes also reached double digits with 10.
Irving made 13-of-24 from the floor, including had 19 points in the second half.
Irving’s haul included a decisive run of five points in a row as Boston led by seven with around 1min 30sec remaining.
The victory was Boston’s 11th in their last 12 home games.
Irving paid tribute to his partnership with Horford.
“When you’ve got guys who are willing to be as selfless as we are, then it makes everything in terms of our system work,” Irving said.
“Me and Al, we’re pretty selfless guys, but we understand when we’ve got to make our mark in the game and if we do that, whatever’s needed we do.”
Meanwhile Greek star Antetokounmpo was left reflecting on a third straight 30-point game.
The 22-year-old small forward went 14-for-24 from the floor and also had nine rebounds, four assists and four turnovers.
Antetokounmpo was one of five Bucks players to reach double figures, with Khris Middleton adding 19, Eric Bledsoe 18, Nate Snell 11 and Malcolm Brogdon 10.
“They just played harder than us, but at the end of the day, I thought our effort was good,” Antetokounmpo said.