Bucks 106, Celtics 95

Jerry Stackhouse and Luke Ridnour scored 17 points apiece, and

the Milwaukee Bucks won their regular-season finale 106-95 on

Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics rested their Big Three in

preparation for the playoffs.

With Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen sitting out to

avoid possible injury, the lack of defense and excitement had

spectators moving toward the exits midway through the fourth

quarter.

The game began as a possible first-round preview if Milwaukee

won and Miami lost to New Jersey. However, the Heat beat the Nets

94-86 in double-overtime, setting up Miami-Boston and

Milwaukee-Atlanta matchups.

Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 15 assists for the Celtics, who

lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

Milwaukee finished with a 46-36 record, a 12-game improvement

over last season. That’s the biggest gain in the Eastern Conference

as the Bucks reached the playoffs for the first time in four

seasons.

The Celtics finished at 50-32, their worst record in three

seasons. They won the NBA title in 2008 but were eliminated in the

Eastern semifinals in 2009.

On Wednesday night, the Celtics took their last lead, 72-71, on

a 3-pointer by Michael Finley with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

Then the Bucks finished the quarter with a 17-6 run that gave them

an 88-78 lead going into the fourth. Milwaukee led by at least 10

points the rest of the way.

The game had none of the defense – or intensity – of Boston’s

105-90 win at Milwaukee last Saturday night in which the physical

play picked up in the final 3:32.

Kurt Thomas complained to referees when he felt he was fouled by

Glen Davis but didn’t get the call, then got a flagrant foul when

he threw Davis to the floor. Davis got a technical foul when he

immediately bumped Thomas. On the next possession, Pierce and

Stackhouse got tangled up and Stackhouse was called for a foul

while holding Pierce.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles argued the call and was given a

technical foul and automatic ejection.

It was only 76-74 when Ersan Ilyasova hit three straight

Milwaukee baskets, a 3-point bank shot, a 19-foot jumper and

another 3-pointer. Ilyasova finished with 15 points. All Boston

could manage in that stretch was a 3-pointer by Rasheed Wallace as

the Bucks led 84-76 with 56 seconds left in the period.

For the Celtics, Marquis Daniels scored 13 points and Shelden

Williams and Nate Robinson added 12 each.

NOTES: The Bucks snapped a two-game losing streak. … Guard

Oliver Lafayette had seven points in his first game for the Celtics

after playing for Fort Wayne in the NBA Development League. …

Boston’s regular center Kendrick Perkins sat out the game to avoid

picking up his 16th technical foul, which might have brought a

one-game suspension for either the playoff opener or next season’s

first game.