Celtics Live Blog: Shorthanded C’s Fall to Sharp-Shooting Bucks in Season Finale


April 14, 2010

Celtics Live Blog: Shorthanded C's Fall to Sharp-Shooting Bucks in Season FinaleFinal: Bucks 106, Celtics 95. And that's that from the TD Garden. Not much you can say about this one — the C's threw their second-string guys out there, and the Bucks' first-stringers beat them handily.

Luke Ridnour and Jerry Stackhouse finish with 17 points each off the bench for the Bucks, who get their 46th win of the season and still remain in the hunt for the No. 5 playoff seed in the East.

Time for some scoreboard watching, everyone.

Fourth quarter, 3:05, Bucks 104-88: This one looks just about over. At this point, all eyes are on Michael Beasley to see if he can power the Heat past the Nets and lock up that No. 5 seed.

Beasley has 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who lead the Nets by just five now, 73-68, with 4:37 to play. That one might go down to the wire — the Nets are playing with heart in their last game of the season, working for win No. 13 like their lives depend on it.

Of course, the only thing that actually does depend on it is the playoff schedule. Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta will all be waiting on this one with bated breath.

Fourth quarter, 5:46, Bucks 98-82: Can't win if you don't get stops. It's just that simple.

The Bucks are tearing up the Celtics' defense with long-range jumpers, and no one's contesting them. Luke Ridnour is now 6-for-6. Luke Ridnour!

The Celtics just seem to have lost their will to guard anyone. They'd better hope they don't have this problem in the playoffs.

Fourth quarter, 9:12, Bucks 90-78: Looks like Nate Robinson's gunning for a repeat performance of the show he put on Friday night against Washington, shooting the lights out from downtown when his team needs it most.

This time, though, it doesn't appear to be working. Nate has missed three straight 3s early in the quarter, and the Celtics appear to be running out of answers here in the fourth quarter.

Miami's up 11 on New Jersey in the fourth quarter, though. Hit the road, Bucks.

End of third quarter, Bucks 86-78: Never thought I'd say this, but the Celtics are really feeling the wrath of Ersan Ilyasova. There's a first time for everything, huh?

Ilyasova now has 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, leading the way for the Bucks offensively. He's absolutely killing the C's from outside.

Someone on this team has to step up and close out on an outside shooter every now and then. It would really do a world of good.

Third quarter, 2:44, Bucks 73-72: The Celtics got a big 3 with Michael Finley to put them up one at 72-71 with 4:43 to play, but they've been silent since then.

A miss from Rondo; a charge from Glen Davis; an ugly brick from downtown by Brian Scalabrine. The C's need better execution down the stretch if they want to stick around.

In other news, though, the Heat now have a nine-point lead over the Nets, 57-48, near the end of the third quarter in Miami. So there's a good chance that this game is irrelevant, as the Bucks appear destined to be the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Third quarter, 6:06, 69-69: Just another monster third quarter from Rajon Rondo. Did you expect anything less?

Rondo now has 17 points, 13 assists and four rebounds. He's absolutely carrying the C's on both ends of the floor, driving the lane with ease and kicking it out when there's a shooter with a good look.

The athleticism, the scoring ability, the court vision — it's all there tonight. Rondo's been the man.

Third quarter, 9:21, 60-60: The Celtics are hitting their stride offensively in the third quarter. Maybe they've got a shot tonight after all.

The key has been spreading the floor. With Brian Scalabrine (gasp!) on the wing hitting 3s and Rajon Rondo driving the lane, the Celtics have been tough to stop.

If the C's can get a win over the playoff-bound Bucks with their backups playing the bulk of the minutes, it would say a lot about the playoff readiness of this team. Don't sleep on these C's. It could happen.

Halftime, Bucks 55-50: It's hard to get a lead when you're giving up 55 points in the first half. That's why the Celtics don't have one.

The C's have seen flashes of brilliance offensively, with both Nate Robinson and the newcomer Oliver Lafayette knocking down jumpers. But as has been a problem all season with this second unit on the floor, they're just not getting stops. When that problem keeps up, it makes it hard to win ballgames.

We'll see whether the Celtics can turn things around in the second half.

Second quarter, 3:11, Bucks 49-39: Who knew Luke Ridnour could shoot like this? I sure didn't.

The Bucks' backup point guard behind Brandon Jennings has had a monster first half, going 4-for-4 from the floor. He's got 10 points and six assists to lead the way for the Bucks. And he's made tough shots, too — fadeaways with a hand or two in his face.

Milwaukee is now shooting 56.2 percent from the field as a team; Boston is at 45.5 percent. That's a huge difference.

Second quarter, 6:11, Bucks 41-30: The one bright spot of this second quarter has been seeing Oliver Lafayette, a former D-League castoff who signed with the Celtics today, get onto the floor and quickly pile up a bucket and an assist.

It's a nice story for Lafayette, the 25-year-old point guard who was last seen with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. But the rest of the Celtics are really struggling without the help of their regular starting five. The Bucks' lead has reached double digits.

Second quarter, 9:17, Bucks 31-26: We have a Brian Scalabrine sighting, and the TD Garden faithful are thrilled to see it. Well, sort of.

Scal has been a non-factor so far offensively, with his one attempt to score being a driving layup that rimmed out.

The fans at the Garden tonight might be bummed about missing the Big Three, but at least they get to see Scal try and fail to carry the Celtics offensively.

Nate Robinson has scored four points in the last minute to keep the Celtics in this thing, but the Bucks still have a five-point lead.

End of first quarter, Bucks 23-20: So far tonight, it's still uncertain whether the stars are aligning for a first-round playoff matchup between the Celtics and the Miami Heat.

To vault from the No. 6 playoff seed in the East up to the No. 5, the Bucks need both a win and a Miami loss at home against New Jersey. At the moment, that's not out of the question — the Bucks have pulled back ahead of the Celtics with a 10-1 run to close the quarter, and the Nets are hanging tough with the Heat through one, currently tied at 20.

If the Nets take care of business, then, well … the Bucks are in Boston playing for the right to stay in Boston.

First quarter, 3:06, Celtics 19-13: For the first time in a long time, we're seeing this second unit play like a true team. And it's paying off.

It's a 10-0 run for the resurgent Celtics, as the offense moves the ball with ease and takes over the game with efficient, unselfish basketball. Watching Rasheed, Michael Finley and Marquis Daniels move the ball around the perimeter is a thing of beauty.

The C's are sharing the ball, and they're sharing a six-point lead over the Bucks late in the first quarter. Can't complain.

First quarter, 6:19, Bucks 13-9: With no Paul Pierce on the floor tonight, the Celtics will need to see Glen Davis step up and become a poor man's Pierce, playing the mid-range game and knocking down shots.

So far, he's done a little bit of that, yes. He's drilled a couple of solid jumpers and he's 2-for-3 from the floor to lead the C's with four points. But he's also in early foul trouble.

Davis is on the bench with two early personal fouls, and now the C's will go a little bigger with Shelden Williams in Davis' spot. It'll be interesting to see how the offense functions now without a true mid-range threat.

First quarter, 9:22, Bucks 7-0: It's still early of course, but wow, these Celtics sure look awful.

They're getting lit up by the Bucks' guard duo of Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino, and they're settling for bad jumpers all over the place on the offensive end. You know it's bad when you see Rasheed Wallace jack up a 3 with no one within a country mile of him, and you still just know it's rimming out.

Nothing has gone right so far for the Celtics. If they can't turn things around, they're in for a long night.

8:05 p.m.: Interesting to see the Celtics' ragtag group of starters introduced tonight. Certainly not a familiar sight.

Rasheed Wallace charged onto the floor to a smattering of cheers and boos, taking it all in stride. Marquis Daniels jogged out with a sheepish laugh. Michael Finley handled it with professionalism and grace.

This is a different starting five than we're all used to in Boston. But can they win? That's the real question.

7:35 p.m.: No Big Three for the Celtics in their season finale — Doc Rivers has opted to rest veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen with the playoffs set to tip off this weekend.

Kendrick Perkins is also sitting this one out — with 15 technical fouls on the season, the C's are hoping he steers clear of picking up his 16th and getting slapped with a one-game suspension. In his place at center will be Rasheed Wallace, who's been a saint this season compared to Perk.

"He only has 14," Rivers joked before the game. "We're going to play him until he gets a tech, then pull him out."

Starting tonight alongside Wallace will be forwards Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels and guards Rajon Rondo and Michael Finley. The Bucks will go with their usual starting five of Kurt Thomas, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino and Brandon Jennings.

10:15 a.m.: Can the Celtics just throw this one?

With a loss on Tuesday night at Chicago, 101-93, the Celtics' fate has been sealed as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That means they're awaiting word on who gets the No. 5 and the right to play them — and right now, that would appear to be Miami, currently one game up on Milwaukee with one to play. To avoid a first-round matchup with Dwyane Wade and the Heat, the Celtics need a Miami loss and a Milwaukee win.

Guess who Milwaukee's playing.

The C's host the Bucks in their season finale, and it's a game they'd rather lose, really. The Bucks are still without star big man Andrew Bogut, and it's better to face a Bucks team without Bogut than a red-hot Heat team that's won 11 of 12.

The Celtics will rest some starters in this one, knowing full well that a win isn't exactly vital. In fact, it might hurt them. But the commissioner's office frowns upon tanking games, apparently, so Doc Rivers will have his guys lace them up and play for one more night. How much they'll want it is anyone's guess.

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