Bucks 74, Celtics 87
It’s been a while since the Celtics entered the final game of the regular season and really, really wanted to win. As in wanted to win so badly that all five of their starters and a couple of key reserves all participated in the contest.
Boston wanted to win, and it used a second-quarter outburst to make sure the victory would arrive.
The Celtics exploded for an incredible 39 points in the second period thanks to some superb shooting from all over the floor. They shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field, 66.7 percent (4-of-6) from downtown and a perfect 100 percent (5-of-5) from the free-throw line.
That will usually do it.
Rookie guard E’Twaun Moore led the way in the quarter with eight points for the C’s. He shot 3-of-5 from the floor in the second period and made two of his three 3-point attempts. Moore, however, wasn’t alone at the offensive end.
Paul Pierce made a cameo appearance in the period despite tweaking a left toe injury. That cameo certainly paid off for the C’s. He scored seven of his 12 points in just 4:24 of play in the period. Ryan Hollins, who was given big minutes tonight as the backup center, matched his captain’s scoring output by putting up seven points of his own.
While the trio of Moore, Pierce and Hollins led the way, it was the balance of Boston’s attack that made the offense so unstoppable. Nine Boston players made at least one field goal in the quarter. All in all, the team tallied 13 assists, led by six from Rajon Rondo.
When you score like that against a team playing in its final game of the season, it’s almost a certainty that a tally will be added to the win column. The offense took care of business in the second quarter, and Milwaukee simply had no answers.
Key Box Score Line
Rajon Rondo, you are the No. 1 point guard in the NBA when it comes to dishing out assists.
He showed why tonight.
Rondo returned to the lineup tonight after a nine-day hiatus and he didn’t miss a beat from where he left off. The point guard entered tonight’s contest with 23 consecutive games of at least 10 assists. He extended that streak to 24 games far before halftime even arrived. Rondo recorded his 10th assist of the night when he hit Sean Williams for a dunk with 2:32 remaining in the first half.
Milwaukee wasn’t done being torched by Rondo and his passes at that point. By the end of the night, No. 9 had racked up 15 assists, which were just two less than the entire Bucks team tallied in the entire game. To make things even better, Rondo committed just one turnover in his 25:14 of playing time.
Rondo may have been the only Celtic player on the active roster who didn’t score a point tonight, but who cares? He accounted for 35 points on those 15 dimes he racked up. That’s more than twice the amount of points that the game’s highest scorer poured in.
Thanks to the incredible performance Rondo put in tonight, he secured his first-ever NBA assist title. He finished with a season average of 11.6 APG, which was nearly a full assist higher than the second-best assist man in the league, Steve Nash, who averaged 10.7 APG.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three Celtics attempted at least 10 shots, and two of them (Mickael Pietrus, E'Twaun Moore) were reserves.
- Boston's leading scorer was Avery Bradley with 14 points.
- Tobias Harris led the game with 16 points.
- Boston led from start to finish, at one point opening up a 21-point advantage.
- Brandon Bass and Harris tied for the game-high in rebounding with nine boards apiece.
- Milwaukee outscored Boston 48-30 in the paint.
- Rajon Rondo's 15 assists were just two less than the entire Bucks team recorded.
- Every Celtics player scored at least four points except for Rondo, who went scoreless.
- Milwaukee committed 23 turnovers to become the second consecutive Boston opponent to cough it up at least 23 times.
- None of Boston's players logged more than 25:28 of playing time.
- Paul Pierce scored 12 points in just 6:41 of playing time.
- E'Twaun Moore stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, four rebounds, and career highs of five assists and three steals.
- Boston scored 39 points in the second quarter.
- Milwaukee shot just 37.2 percent in the game.
- Four Bucks players committed at least four turnovers.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Vice President of Media Services/Alumni Relations Jeff Twiss winning the Bobby Vines Outstanding Service Award: "Jeff should get every award that can be given to a Celtic. Honest to God. He should get the Red Auerbach Award every year. He is the true Celtic. He really is."