Milwaukee was propelled by Andrew Bogut's 25 points and 17 rebounds. Carlos Delfino's 19 points along with eight rebounds played Robin to Bogut's Batman.
The Bucks jumped out to an early lead as the Celtics struggled to contain the upstart team which is doing everything it can to hold onto the No. 5 conference seed. Boston took the lead near the end of the second quarter, but the second half was a back-and-forth battle that resulted in the game coming down to the waning seconds.
Up 86-84, John Salmons shot a trey that went awry, enabling Boston to take a crack at tying the game with 8.6 seconds left. Milwaukee handed Boston its remaining foul to give, getting the clock down to 3.9 seconds. A pass from Rajon Rondo to Paul Pierce saw the captain take a two-point shot just outside the paint that went in the wrong direction. Game to Milwaukee, which moves to 34-29. Boston falls to 40-22.
Bucks 86, Celtics 84
Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
March 9, 2010
Headliner: Bogut put on a clinic in the first quarter, pacing the Bucks with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. No one could contain him, and it's scary to watch the 25-year-old in action as he looks to come into his own after being the No. 1 overall pick in 2005's draft.
Bogut quieted down after the first as Boston drew up schemes to neutralize him. He still finished the game with 25 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks.
Unsung Hero: The free-throw line did all it could to hand Boston a victory, but even its help was all for naught. Boston dominated from the charity stripe all game long, taking 22 freebies, converting 19. By comparison, the Bucks only got to the line 11 times, making 10. At least the Celtics had the physical edge.
Rajon Rondo headed to the line the most of any Celtic (where he was 8-of-9), while Pierce was perfect in five chances.
On the Milwaukee side, Andrew Bogut was perfect from the stripe as well, draining five shots.
Scrub: Someone call Ghost Hunters. Kendrick Perkins' body was clearly inhabited by a ghost. How else do you explain a minus-13 plus/minus on the "strength" of six points, five rebounds and one block?
Perk hasn't been playing up to par for a while now, and his hot start to the season has been erased by his recent cold streak. He alternates between being a non-factor and establishing a presence in the paint through which other teams can't drive. His comments about the team being "bored" were illuminating, and one has to wonder if he mentioned it because he feels that way himself.
Turning Point: With 3:32 left in the third period, Paul Pierce made a dash for the basket before dishing it out to Kevin Garnett for a long-range two. The ball clunked off the hoop, but Rajon Rondo saved the day with his best impression of three-time slam-dunk champion and teammate Nate Robinson, slamming the ball home and dangling on the basket for what seemed an eternity.
That fired up the Celtics. The Bucks got fired up too when Bogut rang home his own emphatic dunk seconds later. Both teams turned on the jets at that point and played up-tempo basketball until the game was decided.
The problem? The Celtics can't — and didn't — sustain such a breakneck pace, while the Bucks had no problem pushing the ball down the court.
Up Next: No day off for the Celtics, who will jet home to Boston and duke it out with the Memphis Grizzles on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The surprising Grizzlies are 33-31 and have a nice front five with former New York Knick bust Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo. The Grizzlies also acquired Ronnie Brewer in a trade with Utah at the trade deadline, so they've got some weapons out there.
You might recall Gasol as the younger brother of Pau, currently on the Lakers. The two were traded for one another two years ago. The trade was widely panned at the time, but Marc has proven to be nearly as good as Pau. He holds the Memphis rookie record for highest field-goal percentage at 53 percent. The previous leader was his brother at 51.8 percent.