Celtics Wrap: C’s Hold Off Pesky Bucks, Grind Out 112-107 Home Win

by NESN Staff

February 25, 2016

BOSTON — If the Celtics were looking for style points Thursday night, they didn’t get any. But they’ll take a tally in the win column.

The C’s opened up an early double-digit lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, but that advantage shrunk to just four in the fourth quarter during what was a stop-and-start, foul-filled affair. Boston came alive late, though, doing just enough down the stretch to earn a 112-107 win at TD Garden.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 27 points and tallied seven assists, while Jared Sullinger notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. All five Celtics reach double figures, with Jae Crowder also adding 20.

Milwaukee’s three-headed monster of Jabari Parker (22 points), Khris Middleton (21 points) and Greg Monroe (20 points) came up just short of giving the Bucks their third consecutive win.

STARTING FIVE
Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger

GREEN LIGHT
The Celtics turned on the jets out of the gate in their first home game since Feb. 10.

Boston failed to hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter but still dropped 35 points thanks to plenty of easy twos. The C’s operated at a breakneck pace, scoring 10 of their points on the fast break.

https://vine.co/v/i6nhiZv206Z

Crowder and Amir Johnson powered the Celtics’ strong offensive effort, as Crowder tallied 14 points in the frame on 6 of 7 shooting and Johnson added nine on 4 of 5 shooting.

FOUL PLAY
The Celtics let the Bucks hang around in the second quarter by continuing a bad habit.

Boston entered the night leading the NBA in fouls committed with 22.7 per game. The C’s kept on hacking Thursday, fouling Milwaukee 10 times in the second quarter alone.

The Celtics also failed to make a 3-pointer in the entire first half, going 0 for 9 from deep, and committed 12 first half turnovers. But they managed to maintain their 10-point lead thanks to a mini 5-0 run by Avery Bradley and some more strong play from Johnson.

TAKING THE LID OFF
Boston finally broke out of its deep shooting slump in the third quarter, and the offense started flowing from there.

Crowder hit the Celtics’ first three of the night less than two minutes into the quarter as part of a 13-4 run to start the half.

Milwaukee responded with an 8-0 run after Crowder picked up his fifth foul and was assessed a technical, but the C’s held strong, knocking down 8 of 11 free throws in a foul-happy period to take a 15-point lead into the fourth.

OUT OF THE WOODS?
That lead quickly diminished, though, as Monroe and Parker helped engineer an 18-8 Milwaukee run to start the fourth that pulled the Bucks within five.

That’s when Thomas decided to take over, scoring seven points over a one-and-a-half minute span to keep the Bucks at bay.

Milwaukee fought back again to cut Boston’s lead to four, but Thomas made an incredible pass to Crowder for a corner three that proved to be the dagger.

https://vine.co/v/i6vb01QVmOP

PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Thomas’ crazy pass to Crowder wasn’t his only fancy assist of the night:

UP NEXT
The Celtics will battle an Eastern Conference rival Saturday when they welcome the Miami Heat to town. The Heat are one spot behind the Celtics in the East with a 32-25 record and have won three of four since the All-Star break. It will be an early affair, as tipoff at TD Garden is set for 3 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) and forward Amir Johnson (90) celebrate against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at TD Garden.
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