NBA's final undefeated team falls as Celtics nearly set NBA 3-point record in win over Bucks

Three days after Klay Thompson set the NBA record for most 3-pointers by a player in a single game, the Boston Celtics nearly set the record for a team. And they did it against some pretty quality competition as well.

Facing the NBA’s final undefeated team in the 7-0 Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics won 117-113 and made a franchise-record 24 3-pointers along the way, one short of the NBA record set by the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.

Six different players had multiple 3-pointers made for the Celtics, including all five starters. Kyrie Irving’s 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting and 6-of-12 from deep topped the scoring for Boston, while Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 33 points paced the Bucks. The Celtics were also without starting forward Jaylen Brown, who was out with a sore foot.

See photos from the game: 

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Celtics take down previously undefeated Bucks
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Celtics take down previously undefeated Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo, de los Bucks de Milwaukee, es defendido por Gordon Hayward, de los Celtics de Boston, en la primera mitad del juego del jueves 1 de noviembre de 2018 en Boston. (AP Foto/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Celtics' Marcus Morris watches his three-pointer that broke a franchise record during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The Boston Celtics bench reacts after a three-pointer by Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts after a Bucks turnover during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) loses control of the ball in front of Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum (0) and Al Horford (42) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Celtics' Semi Ojeleye, left, and Jayson Tatum (0) double-team Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 1, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics shoots a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 1, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on November 1, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on November 1, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics contests a shot against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 1, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Celtics come close to setting NBA record

For a few minutes during the game, the Celtics seemed like a great bet to surpass, or at least tie, the Cavaliers’ 3-point record. Gordon Hayward made the team’s 24th 3-pointer with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter, plenty of time for a team to connect twice from deep. After all, the team had been averaging a 3-pointer once every minute and 46 seconds up to that point.

Instead, the Celtics missed five straight 3-pointers to end the game, a span of time in which the team’s 10-point lead evaporated to one point with 12 seconds remaining.

The Celtics eventually pulled it out thanks to some odd late-game decisions by the Bucks, but their shot at history had dried up. They had attempted 92 shots in the entire game, 55 of them from deep.

Bucks’ 3-point defense not too impressive

After the game, the Celtics explained their extraordinarily high volume of 3-point shots as a decision brought on by a Bucks defense that had trouble adjusting, according to The Athletic’s Jay King.

There might be a reason behind the Bucks having trouble with the 3-pointer. The Cavaliers set the NBA regular-season record last season against the Hawks and set the postseason record in the 2016 Eastern Conference semifinals, also with 25 3-pointers and also against the Hawks. The common thread between those two games and tonight: Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who previously coached Atlanta.

That’s not to say Budenholzer’s defenses are inherently flawed against the 3-pointer, it really might just be an odd footnote following some particularly hot shooting nights for the Cavaliers and Celtics.

Whatever the reason for the onslaught, the Celtics have now won three straight after their 2-2 start to the season and could be getting back on track to becoming the class of the Eastern Conference.

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