Celtics Host Bucks in Final Contest of Regular Season


Celtics Host Bucks in Final Contest of Regular Season The Celtics have battled for 81 games over five-plus months, and they're now days away from the ones that really count. This will be their final tune-up for the NBA's second season.

All the C's have talked about these last couple months is rhythm, momentum and consistency — all the working parts needed for a successful postseason. Now that the playoff     run is just about to begin — are the Celtics ready? This is their last chance to figure it out.

The C's, resigned to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference, take the floor at the TD Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks, who are still alive in their quest to finish fifth. If the Bucks win, they might earn the right to face the Celtics again.

When and Where

Celtics (50-31) vs. Bucks (45-36)
Wednesday, April 14, 8 p.m. (CSNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Head to Head

When these two teams met in Milwaukee on Saturday, it was the second time in a month that the two teams had nearly come to blows. First Brandon Jennings got tangled up with Glen Davis back in March. Then, there was rough housing between Paul Pierce and Jerry Stackhouse. These two teams don't like each other. But on the bright side, they've given us a few entertaining games this season. The Celtics' 105-90 victory on Saturday gave them a 2-1 edge in the season series, and they'll look to finish strong Wednesday.

Key Matchup

Ray Allen vs. John Salmons
Salmons is always aggressive, but in the last game of the regular season, he's definitely going to leave it all on the floor. Last time the C's and Bucks met up, Salmons drew contact at every opportunity and made 10 of his 11 free-throw attempts. If Salmons goes off for 20-plus points again on Wednesday, it makes the Bucks tough to beat.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Bucks
Point guard: Brandon Jennings
Shooting guard: John Salmons
Small forward: Carlos Delfino
Power forward: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Center: Kurt Thomas

Stat Sheet

Celtics

  • Rajon Rondo is third in the NBA with 779 assists.
  • Paul Pierce had 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting on Tuesday night against the Bulls. He is averaging 18.2 points per game in April.
  • Ray Allen is averaging 14.5 points per game in his career against the Bucks, his former team.

Bucks

  • The Bucks are now 4-7 this season without Andrew Bogut.
  • John Salmons is averaging 20.9 points per game in April, on 50.5 percent shooting.
  • Luke Ridnour is shooting 90.6 percent from the free-throw line this season, fifth-best in the NBA.

Black and Blue

Celtics

  • Tony Allen missed Tuesday night's game against Chicago with the flu. He is questionable to return Wednesday.
  • Kevin Garnett left Tuesday's game briefly with a cut just above his eye. He returned to the game and should be in good shape going forward.

Bucks

  • Andrew Bogut dislocated his right elbow in the Bucks' game against the Suns last Saturday. He is now out for the season.
  • Michael Redd underwent surgery on his left knee in January. He is also done for the year.

Outlook

After a long season packed with ups and downs, the Celtics have one final tune-up before the end of the regular season, and it's against a Bucks team that's played a tough, physical brand of basketball with them all year. These two teams have been through a lot, but it might be coming to an end. The C's were able to handle these Bucks without Bogut last time out, and if they do it again, they won't see the Bucks again this year.

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