As might be expected out of an older team, the Celtics came out firing, taking a 17-point lead in the first quarter, faltering in the middle and making the game competitive when it counted. Unfortunately, the Celtics couldn’t pull out the win.
Larry Sanders was the star of the game for the Bucks, coming off the bench for 18 points and 16 rebounds. Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with 19 points and had a great fourth quarter. Jason Terry filled in for Rajon Rondo admirably at the point with 11 assists and 15 points.
The Celtics split Rondo’s two-game suspension on back-to-back nights, so the Celtics can’t feel too bad about this one, but it was still a game they could have won.
Fourth quarter, :09.9, Bucks 91-88: The Celtics missed an opportunity on their possession, and Courtney Lee got charged with a questionable foul. Brian Scalabrine eventually agreed with the call, but you know Tommy Heinsohn wouldn’t have.
Fourth quarter, :24, Bucks 90-88: Brandon Jennings has been quiet all game and hit a huge three as this game is winding down to put the Bucks up by two.
Fourth quarter, :55, Celtics 88-87: No one could have seen this game come down to the wire like this after the first five minutes, but welcome to the 2012-13 Celtics’ season.
A questionable Kevin Garnett offensive foul and a huge Larry Sanders dunk cut the lead to two.
Fourth quarter, 1:33, Celtics 88-85: The Celtics weren’t messing around coming out of the timeout. Jeff Green hit a huge three, followed up by a big offensive rebound and a Paul Pierce three.
The Celtics have taken the lead … for now.
Fourth quarter, 3:09, Bucks 85-82: Why isn’t Larry Sanders starting again? The Bucks’ reserve center has 15 points and 15 boards. He may not put up another triple-double like he did Friday night, but he’s been impressive against Kevin Garnett and the Celtics.
Garnett has put in more minutes than what we’re used to.
Fourth quarter, 5:19, Bucks 81-80: What did we tell you? Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have both heated up, and the Celtics are back in the lead.
Pierce and Garnett did their best Chris Paul-to-Blake Griffin impression with a thunderous alley oop midway through the fourth quarter. Pierce has been impressive on both sides of the ball.
Fourth quarter, 9:03, Bucks 77-73: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are starting to heat up out there, but the Bucks are suddenly looking even hotter.
Monta Ellis is leading the charge for the Bucks with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Larry Sanders picked up a double double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
End of third quarter, Celtics and Bucks tied 69-69: The first quarter was dominated by the Celtics, the second quarter by the Bucks and now Milwaukee has outscored Boston 22-21 in the third quarter.
The Celtics are going to need to find the same intense style of play we saw in the first quarter to beat the Bucks here. The Celtics will also need to start getting more production out of their veteran stars, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who have just 11 and nine points, respectively.
Third quarter, 2:54, Celtics 67-60: It looks as though John Henson is the difference in this game so far. He played the first five minutes, where the Celtics put up a 17-0 lead, and as soon as he came back out in the third, the Celtics put up another four points to make Henson’s plus-minus minus-21. Ouch.
Third quarter, 5:14, Celtics 63-60: The Celtics still haven’t found their first-quarter swagger but have held onto the lead while playing sloppy.
Jason Terry continues to star for Boston with Rajon Rondo out. Terry made a huge 3-point shot to put the Celtics up.
Marquis Daniels must have given Paul Pierce fits at practice. The former Celtic is doing a great job shutting Pierce down.
Halftime, Celtics lead 48-47: As great as the Celtics looked in the first half, the Bucks looked just as great in the second half.
Larry Sanders is well on his way to a second triple-double for the Bucks coming off the bench. He has nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the first half.
The Celtics had a 17-point lead at one point in the first quarter, but allowing a 36-point second quarter more than erased that.
We’ve received the sad news that Rick Majerus has passed away. Majerus give Doc Rivers his “Doc” nickname.
Second quarter, 2:19, Celtics 44-38: Why didn’t Ersan Ilyasova start this game, again? He’s been lighting it up off the bench to bring the Bucks back into this game. The Milwaukee 6-foot-10 small forward has a team-leading 11 points so far.
Jeff Green has done a good job coming off the bench for the Celtics, but his teammates aren’t helping him out much. Green is 4-for-6 from the field with nine points so far.
Second quarter, 5:41, Celtics 37-26: Jason Terry is having himself another impressive game with Rajon Rondo out. He’s leading the team with six assists to go along with seven points.
Larry Sanders has been coming up big for a second game in a row for the Bucks with seven boards and three blocks.
Second quarter, 8:41, Celtics 28-20: Don’t look now, but the Bucks are mounting a comeback. Unfortunately, there appears to be no one in Milwaukee to watch it. Everyone must be out Christmas shopping.
Ersan Ilyasova is leading the way for the Bucks so far with eight points while shooting 3-for-6 from the field. Brandon Jennings has hit two bit threes for the Bucks as well.
Anyone else think it’s time to put these green-and-black Celtics jerseys out to pasture?
Second quarter, 10:59, Celtics 27-13: We’ve got a backup basketball on the court.
Brandon Jennings went into the crowd for the ball, and apparently the ball got some beer on it. The refs are bringing a new ball onto the court.
End of first quarter, Celtics lead 27-11: The Celtics came out on fire, and while the Bucks mounted a slight comeback, their 11-point first quarter was highlighted by missed shots, an airballed free throw and overall lazy play.
So far, it looks like the Celtics couldn’t have found a better time to give Rajon Rondo a little mandatory two-game rest. This Celtics team is clicking without him, and Courtney Lee is leading the way with nine points while shooting 4-for-5 from the field.
First quarter, 1:58, Celtics 25-9: There’s good news for the few Bucks fans at BMO Harris Bradley Center — the Bucks put up some points. The Celtics continue to fill the stat sheet on offense and defense, though.
Courtney Lee found the 3-point shot that he tweeted to 911 was missing, while Jason Collins put up two blocks in one possession.
First quarter, 8:06, Celtics 11-0: The Bucks are playing some ugly basketball right now. Fozzie Bear could have done a better job shooting free throws than John Henson, as the rookie forward airballed his first attempt and clanged his second.
Courtney Lee is off to a hot start with four points while taking the ball up the court in place of Rondo.
First quarter, 9:00, Celtics 9-0: The Celtics haven’t missed a beat so far without Rajon Rondo, displaying great defense and ball control. Paul Pierce already has two steals, while Jason Terry has one.
8:10 p.m.: Former Celtic Marquis Daniels draws the start at small forward for the Bucks over Tobias Harris, while Ekpe Udoh will start at center over Samuel Dalembert. Both Daniels and Udoh will be starting their first game of the season.
Daniels is averaging 5.7 points per game in 14.2 minutes, while Udoh is averaging 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while averaging 22.4 minutes. Harris had previously started all 14 of the Bucks games, while Dalembert had started 13. Joel Przybilla had started one.
It’s interesting to see Udoh draw the start over Larry Sanders, who starred Friday night against the Timberwolves with his first career triple-double.
Here are the projected starting lineups:
Courtney Lee, PG
Jason Terry, SG
Paul Pierce, SF
Brandon Bass, PF
Kevin Garnett, C
Brandon Jennings, PG
Monta Ellis, SG
Marquis Daniels, SF
John Henson, PF
Ekpe Udoh, C
5 p.m. ET: The Celtics were lucky to have back-to-back games on their schedule, with their star point guard, Rajon Rondo, suspended for two games after fighting with Nets forward Kris Humphries. Boston is able to get the games out of the way against lesser opponents before Rondo can come back.
The 9-7 Celtics will take on the 7-7 Bucks for the third time this season after splitting the first two games in early November. The Bucks started the 2012-13 season off hot, going 6-2, but they’ve been in a nosedive since — dropping six of their last seven, including a 95-85 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday night.
Courtney Lee will be expected to fill Rondo’s shoes for a second straight night on Saturday. Lee had 10 points with seven rebounds and five assists on Friday night against the Trailblazers in a 96-78 victory where Boston never trailed. It was Lee’s season-high in assists. Jason Terry had a big game against Portland, scoring 17 points while shooting 7-for-11 from the field. He is expected to guard Brandon Jennings.
Larry Sanders had the first triple-double of his career Friday night. He recorded 10 blocks, 10 points and 12 rebounds against Minnesota.
Join us for all the updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET.