Bucks 106, Celtics 95
Ray Allen watched from the bench as his Boston Celtics lost to
the Milwaukee Bucks. Then he faced the television in the locker
room showing the Miami Heat on their way to a win.
That victory determined the Celtics first-round playoff opponent
– the Heat, not the Bucks.
It made no difference to him.
“It has nothing to do with those two teams,” Allen said after
the Bucks’ 106-95 win Wednesday night, the Celtics seventh loss in
10 games. “It’s all about us.”
And that includes the Big Three. On Wednesday, Paul Pierce,
Kevin Garnett and Allen all sat out to avoid possible injury as the
Celtics already had clinched the fourth seed in the Eastern
“This is the healthiest we’ve been,” coach Doc Rivers said.
“I think this is the best Kevin’s been since early in the season.
I think Paul is feeling fantastic right now.”
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. That meant the Celtics would face the
fifth-seeded Heat while the sixth-seeded Bucks would meet the
third-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
The Bucks had cleared out of the dressing room by the time the
matchups were set. But they were pleased with a season in which
they finished at 46-36, a 12-game improvement over last season.
That was the biggest in the Eastern Conference as the Bucks snapped
a two-game losing streak and are in the playoffs for the first time
in four years.
“We didn’t want to go into the playoffs on a three-game losing
streak,” said Jerry Stackhouse, who tied Luke Ridnour with a
team-high 17 points. “Winning your last game gives you a little
bit of confidence.”
Even if it came against a team that didn’t use four starters –
their big three plus center Kendrick Perkins. He has 15 technical
fouls and another might have brought a one-game suspension in the
playoffs. Rivers said a call to the NBA didn’t provide an answer as
to whether a suspension would be served then or at the beginning of
Milwaukee used its starters more sparingly than usual.
“That was our plan going into the game and yet still try to
win,” coach Scott Skiles said. “We just wanted to play well and
get some momentum and get focused.”
The game lacked defense and excitement. Spectators moved toward
the exits midway through the fourth quarter.
“I’m glad the regular season is over,” Bucks rookie point
guard Brandon Jennings said. “Now we can get down to serious
business. Every game matters.”
Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 15 assists for the Celtics.
“Everybody says they have three stars – KG, Ray Allen and Paul
Pierce,” Jennings said, “but he’s the key.”
The other three, though, will be well rested.
“I feel good about my team,” Rondo said. “We had guys rest
tonight, the older guys. So I’m excited. It’s a different
atmosphere playoff time, a different feeling, different vibe,
For the Celtics, Marquis Daniels scored 13 points and Shelden
Williams and Nate Robinson added 12 each.
“This is my first playoff experience so I want to go all the
way and help this team do that,” said Robinson, acquired from the
New York Knicks on Feb. 18.
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, they 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.
Still, Skiles said, “Our defense is still not where I’d like it
The game had none of the intensity of Boston’s 105-90 win at
Milwaukee last Saturday night in which the physical play picked up
in the final 3:32.
In that game, Kurt Thomas got a flagrant foul, Glen Davis got a
technical and Skiles was ejected.
NOTES: The teams combined for just 15 turnovers. … G Oliver
Lafayette had seven points in his first game for the Celtics after
playing for Fort Wayne in the NBA Development League. …
Milwaukee’s starters scored just 37 points and none played more
than 23 minutes.