Celtics 105, Bucks 90
This one had playoffs written all over it, as it was a tight game throughout, there were some heated exchanges and there were numerous big shots. And as it usually happens in those cases, the veteran team with more playoff experience pulled out the big win.
The C's and Bucks were battling back and forth for nearly the entire game until Boston opened up a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter thanks to some stellar play from numerous players. That run was certainly important, but sustaining that lead was even more critical, and there were two reasons why the C's were able to make that happen.
First, Paul Pierce became unconscious from the field. He scored a total of eight points in the fourth quarter, including three straight jumpers that were rebuttals to baskets by the Bucks. Those shots from Milwaukee seemingly gave them a chance to get back in the game, but Pierce closed the door on them quickly. Had he not drilled those three straight jumpers, who knows what the outcome would have been.
Second, a sequence in the waning moments of the game resulted in Scott Skiles being ejected and Boston gaining some much-needed momentum. Pierce was tangled up with Jerry Stackhouse on the perimeter just outside of the 3-point line and the refs had to come in and break up the minor scuffle. During the play, a foul was whistled on Stackhouse and that caused Skiles to become irate. He was ejected almost immediately, and Ray Allen nailed both of the technical free throws that followed to open up a 10-point lead with 2:22 remaining, and Boston had all of the momentum from there on out.
Key Box Score Line
Paul Pierce bounced back in a big way after a difficult game Friday night against the Wizards at home. He scored a game-high 24 points, including six big ones down the stretch, and also notched six boards in the game. On defense, he also accounted for two of Boston's six blocked shots.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points for Boston and Ray Allen added 21.
- Rajon Rondo recorded a game-high 10 assists.
- No Celtic outside of Rondo recorded more than two assists.
- Not a single Buck recorded more than four assists in the game.
- John Salmons scored 21 for the Bucks, while Brandon Jennings added 19.
- Twelve of Jennings' 19 points came from 3-point range.
- Boston outrebounded Milwaukee 42-38.
- The Celtics shot 31-of-35 from the free throw line.
- Neither team totaled more than 15 assists (15 for Boston, 14 for Milwaukee).
- Neither team turned the ball over more than 11 times (nine for Boston, 11 for Milwaukee).
- Kurt Thomas recorded a game-high 10 boards for the Bucks.
- Six different Celtics grabbed at least five rebounds, led by Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis' seven apiece.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on how this is the type of game the Celtics should expect in the playoffs: "It was ugly both ways. It was just two good defensive teams and that's probably how the playoffs are going to be played."