|Fast break: Celtics edged by Bucks||03.09.10 at 10:28 pm ET|
It’s been a while since the Celtics played a tough, competitive game against a solid opponent. They’ve had close games, but hardly well-played close games.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday night in Milwaukee as the Celtics and Bucks played a back-and-forth affair with neither team able to grab much of an advantage. The Bucks escaped with an 86-84 win, but for the first time in a while, it wasn’t because of lack of effort or focus on the part of the Celtics. Milwaukee just made one more play than the Celtics did.
With Andrew Bogut dominating the paint for the Bucks and the Celtics curiously going away from Ray Allen (only three shot attempts), the burden fell on Rajon Rondo. The guard continued to attack the paint, and got knocked down more than a few times for his efforts.
Rondo finished with 20 points and six assists, but he needed help and there wasn’t much to be found. Down by two points on the final possession, Paul Pierce shot a contested jumper that hit iron. The four-game winning streak is over and the Celtics have another game Wednesday night back home in Boston against Memphis.
They still have not atoned for the New Jersey loss, but the signs of progress are still there.
Turning Point: There really wasn’t one. The Bucks made a few more plays than the Celtics, including a back-tap offensive rebound that allowed them to run more clock in the final minute. But there was no definitive point when either team grabbed control of the game.
Player of the Game: There’s probably no bigger fan of Andrew Bogut’s game than Doc Rivers. The Celtics coach has gone out of his way to praise the big man for his ability to shoot with both hands and use his body to create angles. Rivers may be a fan, but he couldn’t have liked what he saw Tuesday night as Bogut killed the Celtics with 25 points and 17 rebounds.
* Michael Finley debuted for the Celtics and he made his first shot, a 17-footer and also knocked down his first 3-pointer giving him five points in his first run. Brian Scalabrine was inactive.
* Nate Robinson buried two timely 3-pointers at the end of the first quarter. Robinson’s shot-making was just about the only bright spot for the Celtics in the quarter and helped slice a Buck lead from eight to two.
* The Celtics bench outscored Milwaukee’s 29-9, but didn’t see much time in the second half.
* Glen Davis gave a hard foul to Brandon Jennings early in the fourth quarter. Jennings didn’t care for it and they both received technical fouls after the play.
* Carlos Delfino’s 3-point shooting kept the Bucks in the game early, but he he almost shot them out of it late.