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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives against Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder, right, in the first half.

BOSTON >> Tyler Zeller tied a career high with 26 points and the Boston Celtics continued their playoff push with a 124-109 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Isaiah Thomas added 20 points, and Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk each finished with 16 as Boston claimed its fourth straight victory. It sets up a stretch to close the regular-season against three playoff-bound teams.

After trailing early, the Celtics took control in the second half, building as much as a 27-point lead.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and seven assists, and Miles Plumlee added 16 points for Milwaukee, which has lost three straight.

The Celtics began Friday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and were among four teams separated by less than two games between the third and sixth seeds. Boston faces each of those teams — Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte — in its final three regular-season games. First up: the Hawks on Saturday.

Boston had 21 assists on its 25 made baskets in the first half to erase an early 11-point deficit. A run just before halftime gave the Celtics a seven-point lead heading into the intermission.

The flurry overshadowed a 20-point half by Antetokounmpo, who missed just two of his eight shots.


Bucks: F Khris Middleton missed his third straight game with a left thigh strain.


Celtics: Zeller's effort ended Thomas' streak of 17 consecutive games as the team's outright leading scorer. ... Have won eight of last 10. ... Improved to 41-17 when scoring 100 or more points this season.


Milwaukee: at 76ers on Sunday.

Boston: at Atlanta on Saturday.