Jared Sullinger doesn’t look like Paul Pierce, but he did his best Pierce impression Tuesday night.
Boston was on fire during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee but the Bucks wouldn’t fade away. A 13-point, fourth-quarter lead, which was built via a 6-of-6 performance from the field to start the period, was cut all the way down to three after Brandon Knight hit a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining in the game.
The Celtics needed a bucket, and they got one in a very unconventional way.
Sullinger caught a pass deep in the post along the right side of the lane. Then chaos broke loose.
Milwaukee swarmed Sullinger on the block and the big man had nowhere to go. He couldn’t make a pass to a teammate, and he couldn’t get a shot off over his numerous defenders. Heck, for a moment, it didn’t even seem like Sullinger could dribble out of the trap to gain some breathing space.
But he did. Sullinger used his wide frame to clear some space before putting the ball on the floor. He dribbled out toward the top of the key as he peeked up at the shot clock.
This is where he made his Pierce-like move. As the clock quickly ticked down to zero, Sullinger dribbled to his left, poked his right foot out, planted and stepped back. It was the quintessential Pierce move to create space, and it worked to perfection.
Sullinger stepped back and fired up a jumper from 18 feet out as the clock expired. Nothing. But. Net.
That certainly wasn’t what Brad Stevens had drawn up, and the coach joked about that fact after the win.
“I was just thoroughly impressed with the coaching on that play,” Stevens said at his postgame press conference. “He got the ball right where he wanted, he did a triple-lindy and shot the ball and it went in.
“It’s a good player making a good play and bailing out a bad coach.”
And giving the Celtics a cushion they would never relinquish. Boston cruised from that point on as it grabbed its first victory against Milwaukee this season.
Key Box Score Line
Jordan Crawford had a pretty good Tuesday night. He also had a great fourth quarter.
Crawford scored a game-high 25 points for the Celtics as they knocked off the Bucks at TD Garden. Those 25 points also accounted as a new season high for Boston’s starting point guard.
The majority of Crawford’s points were scored during the fourth quarter, when he just took over this game. Crawford scored 15 points in the final frame on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, which included three 3s. He also was a perfect 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
How great was that single-quarter performance? Let’s put it this way: Crawford eclipsed his season scoring average of 13. 1 points per game by two points in the fourth period alone!
As we told you, Crawford had a pretty good Tuesday night, and a great fourth quarter.
Box Score Nuggets
- Both teams scored at least 37 points in the fourth quarter.
- Both teams committed 15 turnovers.
- Ekpe Udoh (eight points) was the only starter in the game not to score in double-figures.
- Courtney Lee scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting off the bench in his first game back after a two-game absence.
- The Celtics shot 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) from downtown and the Bucks shot 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) from downtown.
- No player in the game grabbed double-digit rebounds. Brandon Bass' nine boards were a game high.
- Jordan Crawford scored a game-high 25 points.
- Crawford led the Celtics in assists with five.
- Gerald Wallace and Jared Sullinger tied for the game high in steals with two apiece.
- O.J. Mayo led the Bucks with 19 points.
- Six Celtics scored in double-figures.
- Udoh led the gamem with three blocked shots.
- Milwaukee grabbed only 33 rebounds as a team.
Quote of the Night
What it is is, you can take a snapshot of where you stand versus the competition, but it has nothing to do with your preparation on your next opponent, it has nothing to do with getting better tomorrow, it just has what’s happened. Brad Stevens on leading the Atlantic Division