Some people may have felt that Jeff Green hadn’t had the impact they expected from him this season. Halfway through Saturday night’s clash with the Milwaukee Bucks, some observers may have stuck to that opinion.
That was before the fourth quarter, of course, when the game was on the line and Green silenced his critics.
The Celtics headed into the final frame of Saturday night’s matchup trailing by four points. Milwaukee’s Monta Ellis was having a superb shooting game and the Bucks were grabbing offensive rebounds left and right. It would have been easy to lose faith in pulling out a victory, especially after a solid string of play to start the third quarter was negated by an 11-2 Milwaukee run. Someone had to step up for Boston.
Brandon Bass led off the fourth quarter with a crafty layup before a turnover gave possession back to The Celtics. Then Green went to work.
An aggressive drive led to a foul on Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders that put Green on the free throw line. Green sunk both free throws and, on Boston’s next offensive possession, scored on a driving layup to bring the C’s to within one.
Ersan İlyasova got to the line and sunk one of two free throws before Rajon Rondo hit a midrange jumper to tie the game at 72 with 6:34 remaining in the game. On the next offensive possession, the ball came again to Green, and again he made the most of the possession as he scored on a layup to put the C’s ahead by two.
Green wasn’t the only one who caught fire from the floor, though; Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also poured in eight points throughout the span of the fourth quarter. Pierce found himself in a shootout with Monta Ellis midway through the period as both players scored seven and eight consecutive points for their teams, respectively.
Milwaukee had the chance to take the lead or tie as they trailed Boston 92-90 with 22.2 seconds remaining in the game. The ball came to İlyasova in the post before Green came up with a huge steal and essentially sealed the victory for Boston.
Key Box Score Line
We mentioned Jeff Green as being the X-factor in the fourth quarter, but nobody was more consistent in Saturday’s win than the captain Paul Pierce.
Pierce led the Celtics in both scoring and rebounding to finish with 25 points and nine rebounds, one board shy of a double-double. Eight of those points were scored in the fourth quarter during a period where Monta Ellis was shooting lights-out for Milwaukee. Had Pierce not countered Ellis with his own string of solid plays, the Celtics may not have been able to hang around in this one.
Pierce also dished out three assists, grabbed one steal and blocked a shot.
Box Score Nuggets
- Rajon Rondo recorded his 30th consecutive game with 10+ assists, 3rd-most in NBA history.
- Monta Ellis scored a game-high 32 points.
- Paul Pierce had 25 points and nine rebounds, both team highs.
- Rondo notched another double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.
- Both the Celtics and Bucks had 20 total assists in the game.
- Milwaukee grabbed 16 offensive rebounds to Boston’s seven.
- Courtney Lee finished with a +3 plus/minus rating despite scoring zero points in 28 minutes of play.
- The Bucks’ bench outscored the Celtics’ bench 30-20.
- Former Celtics Marquis Daniels scored 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
Quote of the Night
Rondo's penetration really opened up things, I was able to knock down some shots, I think we spread the floor pretty good. We put Rondo in the middle and let him create and we shared the ball. Paul Pierce on Rajon Rondo