Notebook: Celtics 96, Bucks 92

Posted Nov 11, 2012 12:19 AM

By Rick Braun, for

THE FACTS: Paul Pierce scored 25 points and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds, and Kevin Garnett added 18 points, including three huge jumpers down the stretch, as the Boston Celtics fought off the Milwaukee Bucks for a 96-92 victory Saturday night in Milwaukee.

Pierce pulled a struggling offense out of the doldrums as the Celtics shot 54.5 percent in the fourth quarter after hitting just 40 percent in the first 36 minutes.

Monta Ellis led the Bucks (3-2) with 32 points and eight assists but he didn't get enough help as the Bucks shot just 40.2 percent for the game.

QUOTABLE: "It was just ball movement. 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." -- Pierce on the Celtics' offense down the stretch.

THE STAT: On a night where both teams struggled at the offensive end, the Celtics found their game at just the right time. After Mike Dunleavy tied the game for Milwaukee at 74-74 with 5:40 left, the Celtics made 8 of their next 10 shots. In fact, after missing their first five shots of the fourth, the Celtics made 12 of 17 the rest of the way.

TURNING POINT: Ellis gave the Bucks their last lead at 82-81 on a 3-pointer with 3:54 left, but Garnett made consecutive jumpers and Brandon Bass capped a 6-0 run with another jumper to give the Celtics an 87-82 lead with 2:29 left. The Bucks would never get back to even again.

QUOTABLE II: "What was nice is every guy took the shot in their spot. That's something we talked about. I want guys to shoot any time they get it as long as it's their shot and their spot. I'll have to watch the film and find out why the last 8 minutes it happened." -- Boston head coach Doc Rivers on his team's shooting down the stretch.

HOT: On a night where both teams struggled, Bucks center Samuel Dalembert made 6 of 8 shots for a season-high 14 points.

NOT: Bucks guard Brandon Jennings made just 1 of 11 shots, and Boston's Leandro Barbosa went 0 for 6.

GOOD MOVE: When the Celtics couldn't get their offense going and fell behind, 40-30, in the second quarter, Rivers went with a small lineup of Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Pierce, Bass and Chris Wilcox, and the Celtics pulled within 42-39 by halftime.

NOTABLE: Dalembert had four dunks and nine points in the first 6:53, all on pick-and-rolls to the hoop from either Jennings or Ellis. ... The Celtics went on an 18-2 run spanning the end of the second quarter and start of the third. ... Rondo had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. He now has 30 consecutive games with 10 or more assists. Only Magic Johnson (46) and John Stockton (37) have longer such streaks. ... Bucks center Larry Sanders had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sanders has scored in double figures in all five games. He did so in just three games all of last season. ... Jennings had two steals and has multiple steals in all five games. ... Terry made his first start for the Celtics after playing the sixth-man role in the previous five. ... Bucks sixth man Dunleavy was hampered with foul trouble and had just two points in 13:37 of playing time. He entered the game averaging 14.8 points.

UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Monday @ Chicago, Wednesday vs. Utah, Thursday @ Brooklyn. For the Bucks, Monday @ Philadelphia, Wednesday vs. Indiana, Saturday vs. New Orleans.