MILWAUKEE — A day that started with a significant injury to Larry Sanders ended with another significant player limping off the court for the Milwaukee Bucks.
If ever a team needed the All-Star break, it’s this one.
The Bucks committed 21 turnovers in a 102-86 loss to Boston in front of a season-low announced crowd of 11,016 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. By falling to 9-42, Milwaukee could finish the year on a 31-game winning streak and still finish under .500.
But more importantly, the Bucks lost John Henson to a right foot injury when he came down on another player’s foot late in the fourth quarter. Already down five players for a variety of reasons, Milwaukee is certainly limping into the break.
"We’ve been dealing with it all year," Bucks center Zaza Pachulia said of the injuries. "I don’t know what to tell you, man. I was thinking to myself we still have enough guys to play basketball, to play hard. But there have been so many ins and outs since October.
"It’s tough for everybody. Tough for the players, tough for the coaches. Rotation changes, it’s tough. If we were an established team, we would know our identity and it wouldn’t be a problem. But since we are a young team still searching for that chemistry and identity, it affects things. It’s a very tough situation. I just wish everybody to get healthy."
The Bucks learned Sanders’ injury was more serious than originally thought when a fracture to the orbital bone was found Monday morning. There’s no timetable for his return, but he likely won’t be back in the near future.
Ersan Ilyasova, Caron Butler and O.J. Mayo were out again Monday, leaving Milwaukee with 10 bodies. It’s still too early to know how severe Henson’s injury is, but the Bucks are stuck feeling the season has been one bad thing after another.
"It’s getting frustrating, I won’t lie," Pachulia said. "You get a good win against New York and suddenly we start losing guys instead of thinking about building on it and getting the second win in a row. I’m not using it as an excuse, trust me. You still have to keep fighting, playing hard and playing the right way. But after some time — first month, second month, third month — (the injuries are) not over. It gets frustrating. But hey, we have to fight through it.
"I’m sure a time will come when everybody will get healthy, be it this month, next month, April or the summertime. One day we will."
The Bucks hung around for three quarters Monday, trailing by just two points entering the fourth quarter. Despite having played last night while Milwaukee rested, the Celtics pulled away by just playing with more energy in the final 12 minutes.
Jeff Green scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter, as Boston outscored Milwaukee by 14 points in the period by shooting 63.6 percent.
"We went flat," Bucks guard Brandon Knight said. "Our energy went down and they did a real good job taking advantage of it."
Between errant and fumbled passes, the Bucks simply couldn’t hang on to the ball or even dribble the basketball without turning it over Monday night. Milwaukee has now committed 20 or more turnovers in 10 games this season, falling to 0-10 when reaching that mark.
"It’s so obvious," Pachulia said of the turnovers. "Ridiculous. It’s so hard to win like that, especially a team like us. We’re not a team to blow out teams or have our whole squad here. We’re limited. We had more turnovers than assists. It’s tough to win like that."
The Bucks must now figure out a way to get through Wednesday’s game against New Orleans before using the four-day break to get a few more healthy bodies for the season’s final 30 games.
"My biggest concern is the health of this team," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "I don’t know the extent of John’s injury, but with no Ersan, Larry, and no O.J., we need the break. Where will we be after the break is my biggest concern."
Henson wasn’t sure how long he’d be out, but was able to walk on the foot afterward.
"It’s tough, man," Henson said. "I can’t get rid of the injury bug. Hopefully I can get back as soon as possible.
"I was just getting back in a rhythm from coming back from the wrist. It’s been that type of season. It’s been rough. Hopefully I can get back as soon as possible."