BOSTON -- Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, and the Milwaukee Bucks opened their season with a 108-100 victory over Boston on Wednesday night to spoil the homecoming of a Celtics team coming off a late and emotional season opener.
One night after a gruesome broken ankle just six minutes into the season cost Boston top free agent Gordon Hayward -- perhaps for the entire season -- the Celtics fell to 0-2 by giving up an 11-1 run that left Milwaukee with a 97-90 lead and under three minutes to play.
Antetokounmpo added 13 rebounds, Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points and Khris Middleton had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks. Matthew Dellavedova scored 15 points, hitting a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left after the Celtics cut the lead to two points.
It was a subdued home opener for the Celtics, who underwent a near-complete overhaul over the summer even after earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season. Although Irving and No. 3 draft pick Jayson Tatum appeared in a Celtics home uniform for the first time, Hayward was left to wish them well in a pregame video from his hospital bed.
The Oklahoma City Thunder star said seeing Hayward's devastating injury Tuesday night made him "nauseous."
"It just brought me back to Vegas and when it happened to me, my incident," George said Wednesday. "Immediately I felt devastated. I was like nauseous watching it, just going back to that place. Immediately after it happened I texted Gordon. We talked last night. I just tried to give him words of encouragement, just tried to be there for him."
During a Team USA intrasquad scrimmage in 2014, George fell awkwardly into the basket stanchion trying to block a fast-break layup, fracturing the tibia and fibula in his right leg. Because of the graphic nature of the injury, the scrimmage was stopped midgame and canceled.
George underwent a two-hour surgery, and returned to the floor less than a year later in April of 2015, appearing in six games at the end of the season.
The recovery, George said, was mentally and physically grueling.
"It's both. It's both," George said. "Gordon has never deal with something as bad as that, especially Game 1 of the season. It's just unfortunate. It's a little bit of everything. It's physical, it's mentally, I'm sure, emotional. He's in a different state of mind. It's just bad timing for that. Honestly, it's hard to get over that. For me, it was just hard to see that."
Following George's injury, it wasn't certain he would ever return to form. But he very much did, playing 81 games in 2015-16, averaging a then-career-high 23.1 points per game, before upping that to 23.7 points per game in 75 games last season.
Agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan the surgery would involve "a bunch of different things,'' including inserting a plate and screws to stabilize Hayward's ankle and tibia.
It is too soon, Bartelstein said, to put a timetable on Hayward's recovery.
"We'll have a better idea after the surgery,'' Bartelstein said.
Dr. Mark Slovenkai, chief of foot and ankle surgery for New England Baptist Hospital, and Dr. Brian McKeon, the Celtics' team physician, were to perform the surgery.
Earlier Wednesday, Hayward taped a video message to Boston fans from his hospital bed, and it aired to thunderous applause before the Celtics' home opener on Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden.
Marcus Smart, the longest-tenured Celtic on a team that returned just four players from last season, was scheduled to deliver an address before the game. Smart instead directed attention to the video board for Hayward's message.
Wearing a hospital gown, Hayward told fans he'll be "all right" and said it pained him not to be with his teammates in Boston.
"What's up, everybody? I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers," Hayward said. "I'm going to be all right. It's hurting me that I can't be there for the home opener; I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. I'll be supporting you guys from here. I wish you the best of luck. Kill it tonight."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before Wednesday's 108-100 loss
Julian Edelman, out for the season with a torn ACL suffered during a preseason game, tweets at Celtics forward Gordon Hayward to hang tough.