Game Preview: Bucks at Celtics
The Milwaukee Bucks probably wouldn't mind seeing a bit more of the Boston Celtics.
After snapping their longest losing streak in over 16 years in the opener of a home-and-home set with the Celtics, the Bucks will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season in Boston on Tuesday night.
Two of Milwaukee's three victories have come against the Celtics, who handed the Bucks their only road win with a 105-98 loss at TD Bank Garden on Nov. 1.
Following that win, the Bucks dropped 12 of their next 13, including an 11-game skid that was their worst since a franchise-record 15-game slide in March 1996.
Milwaukee got out in transition and scored easy baskets against Boston on Saturday, holding a 16-4 edge in fast break points in a 92-85 win. O.J. Mayo scored 22 and Brandon Knight added 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
"Same old, same old, just continue to play hard," Mayo said. "Obviously, every night's going to be a challenge all around the board – outside, inside. Just about continuing to play hard and playing the right way."
In their win at Boston last month, the Bucks rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Celtics 34-15 in the fourth quarter.
"When those guys get going, you can throw everything else out the window. They are a tough team to stop," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "Bottom line is that we have all got to tighten it back up on Tuesday night. We weren't great (on Saturday) but the Bucks had a lot to do with that."
A common theme in Milwaukee's victories over Boston this season has been defense. In the first meeting, the Bucks forced 17 turnovers, and they held the Celtics to 4-of-19 shooting from 3-point range Saturday.
"We were running zone," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "We didn't run a lot of man-to-man that first half, but when we started running our zone, we just waited to see if they were going to make shots. They didn't fall for them, so we stuck with it and it seemed to have an effect."
Milwaukee's defense is ninth in the NBA, allowing 98.8 points per game, but the offense has been abysmal with an 89.2 average - tied with Charlotte for the league's lowest.
Jared Sullinger had 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford added 18 points apiece Saturday for the Celtics, who had won three of four following a six-game losing streak.
Green, who leads the team with 16.7 points per game, is shooting just 39.3 percent against the Bucks this season. He was 4-of-13 for 13 points Nov. 1.
Similar to that loss, the Celtics had another very poor quarter against the Bucks on Saturday - though this time it was the second. Milwaukee outscored Boston 28-14 in the period, shooting 52.4 percent overall and hitting all four of its 3-point attempts.
The Bucks also outrebounded the Celtics 17-10 in the period, helping them to a 49-41 margin for the game.
"We didn't defend the 3 very well," said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. "Another thing is that they were making everything. They were just moving the ball well and playing well as a team. We stopped getting consistent stops and it showed, and they were making shots and got a lead."
The Bucks will try to tie a team record with their fourth straight win in Boston. They last won four in a row on the road against the Celtics from April 15, 1998 to Nov. 26, 1999.