The Boston Celtics played plenty of meaningless games for all the wrong reasons last season.

After completing the biggest single-season turnaround in league history and securing the NBA's top record with six games left to play, they can enjoy the luxury of resting their starters for a few games that mean little.

The Celtics might rely on their backups again Tuesday when they visit the last-place Milwaukee Bucks.

Last season, Boston finished 24-58 and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. In response, the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce in creating a new Big Three.

The trio has averaged a combined 56.8 points to help Boston go 61-15 for its most victories since winning a franchise-record 67 games in 1985-86, en route to its last NBA title when the Big Three was Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.

That season was also the last time the Celtics swept a season series from the Bucks (26-50). They have won both matchups this season, including a 99-77 victory at the Bradley Center on March 15.

Garnett and Allen were rested for Saturday's 101-78 win at Charlotte, while Pierce was with his daughter, who was born the previous day. With all three stars out, reserve forward Leon Powe scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Boston clinched its first Eastern Conference title in 20 years, while also clinching home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

"The Big Three is going to give you what everybody expects them to give you," said Celtics guard Eddie House, who added 16 points off the bench against the Bobcats. "I think the surprises are the guys like Leon Powe, (Rajon) Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen, everybody coming in, contributing minutes and having a positive effect when they're on the court."

The Celtics hope that continues for the final six games, but they are already focused on winning in the postseason.

"Nothing we do right now is what we're trying to do," coach Doc Rivers said. "It's what we're trying to get to later. That's how we focus."

The Bucks, meanwhile, are already eliminated from playoff contention and looking to avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 105-97 at Indiana on Sunday.

Michael Redd, the Bucks' leader with 23.3 points per game, has totaled 52 points in the last two games after scoring only 11 while shooting 4-for-16 from the field in last Wednesday's 110-109 loss at Washington.

Redd hasn't produced much in the two losses to the Celtics this season, totaling 22 points and going 7-for-21 from the floor.

Milwaukee hopes to have Mo Williams back after he was ruled out of Sunday's defeat with an abdominal injury. The point guard's 17.2 points per game rank second on the team, and he averages a club-high 6.3 assists.

Williams was held to five points and five assists by Boston on March 15.


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