The C’s varied their lineup by starting Bremer, Brown, and Baker since neither Battie nor Delk looked to be ready to go tonight. Bremer had been impressive to date and I was curious. Grant Long had been signed, but I had no idea if he would see any playing time without a few practices under his belt.
Milwaukee opened up by scoring the first 6 points. Then Pierce took a pass from walker for two. Vin Baker came in and made his presence known by scoring a basket of his own. He also had a rebound early, so it was nice to see him getting off to a good start.
But the Bucks were pouring on the offense. When timeout was called with 7:58 to go in the quarter, Milwaukee was up 16-9. Following the timeout, Baker went hard to the basket, rebounding his own miss for two. Kedrick Brown did likewise to make it 18-15 Milwaukee leading with 616 to go.
Surprisingly, at this stage of the game, the C’s high scorer was none other than Vinnie Baker with 6 points!!
Walker and McCarty got into the offensive act and tied the game at 19 with 4:40 left. Both teams were shooting over 50% from the floor, so it looked like a wild ride tonight. Eric Williams made a layup and gave Boston it’s first lead, 21-19 with just over 4 minutes to go.
Paul Pierce worked to get back on track, as he got his next basket a minute later. Guess he didn’t want Vinnie outscoring him. Walker took a seat with 3:13 to go as Pierce hit a free throw following a 3 second violation on the Bucks, making it 24-21 Boston leading. The shooting percentages were getting ridiculous with both teams approaching 60%.
The C’s worked hard on the boards, but weren’t getting the ball to go through on their next possession. When timeout was called with 2:27 to go following a Milwaukee turnover, the score was still 24-21.
Following the timeout—and a jump ball won by the Bucks—the score was unchanged, though the shooting percentages had. Baker sat in favor of Bruno as the C’s and Bucks traded turnovers. Milwaukee capitalized on Celtics miscues to regain a 27-24 lead with 46 seconds remaining in the quarter. Walker had something to say about that as he made a basket of his own to cut the Bucks lead with 17 seconds left.
Bruno then blocked Kukoc’s layup attempt—YAY BRUNO!! The first quarter ended with Milwaukee leading 29-27.
The C’s now looked like they were in for a tough night. J.R. Bremer had started but gotten nothing accomplished scoring wise in his time on the court.
The Bucks were out shooting the C’s 50%-48%, and
really working the threes. Milwaukee was being rather careless with
the ball, getting 7 turnovers in the quarter. Nobody had successfully
run a fast break on either team yet. The C’s were better in paint
Vinnie came back in and got a layup, really nice work there. With 954 to go, Walker made a layup that gave Boston a 31-29 lead. But Ervin Johnson of Milwaukee was doing his best to help the Bucks keep up, scoring a hoop of his own. Walker seemed to be heating up, making another basket, and the score was 33-32. Baker made a jumper and time was called with 8:46 to go in the second, with Boston now ahead 35-32.
Since the Bucks had taken 11 free throws to this stage vs. Boston’s lone (successful) attempt, I’d say that old officiating disparity was rearing its ugly head again. After the timeout, Baker got a rebound, but turned the ball over. Bremer made himself useful by getting a rebound of his own Kedrick was fouled and made 1-2. What happened to free throw practice after last night?? Milwaukee still likes to steal the ball, as Bremer found out. Walker made another jump shot and with 7:32 to go, Boston led 38-33.
The teams traded misses for a few possessions, and then Walker took a break as Pierce came back on the floor. Antoine had 14 points so far, and Baker was right behind him with 10. Looks like Vinnie is having a good night! Both teams traded baskets now, and when timeout was called with 4:23 to go, the score was 42-39 Boston. After the timeout, Pierce went to the line (SURPRISE!) and made the free throw.
Unfortunately, Baker was having his night ruined by getting his 3rd foul with 4:05 left in the quarter. Walter made a nice hook shot and lifted the spirits and the score. Boston made a run and when timeout was called with 2:17 left, the score was 50-41 Boston, with the Good Guys holding their biggest lead so far tonight.
After the timeout, the C’s furiously attacked the offensive boards and finally drew the foul. Walter finally got another hoop and as time wound down, Pierce sat for an extended breather just before halftime with 51 seconds left. Walker made a nice steal from Sam Cassell and went the distance for a thunderous dunk.
Kedrick liked the idea so much, he stole the ball from Mason on the next play and handed off to Walker who added two more points. Tim Thomas managed to score the final basket of the half, which ended with the score 58-48, Boston leading.
This was shaping up to be a memorable game. The Bucks had come roaring out the gate and Boston roared right back.
The Good Guys had gotten a handle on the FGP by going 51% while lowering Milwaukee to 45.5%. The threes actually favored the Bucks, but that’s Ray Allen for you. I think it’s against his religion to shoot a two. :>)
The C’s held a lead in fast break points, 9-1. Turnovers were also good, with Milwaukee happily holding the edge 13-7. Well, I was happy about it.
Boston was killing the Bucks in paint points, 38-16. I was annoyed that Milwaukee had shot 15 free throws to Boston’s 5.
Bremer hadn’t done much so far, but wowie, Vinnie!! He had—at halftime—10 points (on 5-5 shooting), and 4 rebounds. Too bad he also picked up 3 fouls, but still, not too shabby! Walker looked like he was having one of those nights, too, with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Eep!
The C’s really needed to keep up the good work, and make sure they at least tried to contain Ray Allen and Tim Thomas. It’s never good to let a guy who likes shooting threes get hot, and who knows that better then Boston? About the only two things I’d say would be keep looking for the good shot on offense and try to knock Milwaukee’s shooting percentage down a little more. And, of course, keep playing hard!!!!!
Baker rebounded a Tim Thomas miss, and handed off to Bremer who dunked it, opening up the quarter—and the Celtics lead, to 60-48. After a couple of misses on both sides, Baker was fouled and hit both. Bremer than sank a three to show us he remembered how, and Thomas hit for two at the other end. The C’s missed a few shots, and Milwaukee was able to close the gap to 64-56 with 8:04 to go in the third quarter.
Tim Thomas was starting to be a major problem for Boston, and I hoped that Coach O’Brien would do something about that soon. Walker hit another shot to re-establish a double digit lead for the Good Guys.
Sam Cassell then got a bit TOO offensive and turned the ball over. Unfortunately, “Walker see, Walker do.” Sigh… When timeout was called with 5:45 to go, the score was 67-58 Boston. Walter McCarty had come in for Baker, presumably to prevent Baker from getting any more fouls before the 4th quarter.
After the timeout, the teams ran up and down the court without much to show for it on the scoreboard. Walker continued to crash the boards in the absence of Battie. Both teams pushed hard and both teams got called for offensive fouls. The game was moving along at a fast pace. Still, with all the activity, nobody had scored any points in over 2 ½ minutes until Walter made a basket with 3:25 left. Of course, it was a three. Boston now led 70-58.
Five Celtics players were now in double figures, and we still had a lot of time left in the game.
Milwaukee finally made a basket of their own—a copycat three, and when timeout was called with 2:36 remaining, the score was 70-61. After the timeout, both teams traded free throws, and worked to keep up the furious pace. Eric Williams then went to the line and made both, making the score 74-63.
Milwaukee hoisted another miss and the Good Guys took the rebound. The Bucks sent Eric Williams back to the line, evidently daring him to keep hitting. He obliged, making it 76-63. Kedrick picked up his third foul, sending Ray Allen to the line with 35 seconds to go. He made both. With 4 seconds left, Walter stole the ball, and got it to Eric Williams who made it good, ending the third quarter with Boston leading, 78-65.
So far, the stats still looked good for Boston.
After three quarters, Boston 46.3% Bucks 40.8% on FGP, 3pt shot were 33.3% for Boston and 47.4% for the Bucks. Fast break points were 13-1 favoring Boston. Turnovers, on the other paw, favored Milwaukee, 17-10. Paint points were 40-18 for Boston. The Good Guys had dropped their shooting percentage a bit—but more importantly, had dropped Milwaukee’s FGP. The free throws were closer now, 16-19 Bucks, 11-14 Boston.
Ray Allen had been slowed down, and Tim Thomas was at least being watched carefully. The C’s still needed to run more, based on how long it too them to get the ball into the offensive end, but all in all, things were looking good!
The Good Guys opened the quarter by Pierce hitting a shot and then getting fouled. The lead quickly grew, as both sides then traded missed shots for a minute or so before Milwaukee got a basket. The score was now 81-72 with 9:46 to go, as Boston called timeout.
Following the timeout, the C’s crashed the offensive boards, but no joy there, as Milwaukee got the ball at last. Then Pierce was called for his fourth foul, sending Ollie to the line, where justice prevailed as he missed one. But Milwaukee had lots of fight left and scored another hoop with 8:48 to go making the score 81-76. Following a 20 second timeout, the C’s took it to the hoop and drew the foul. Eric Williams hit both, becoming the 6th Celtics player in double figures scoring.
But Sam Cassell drove to the hoop, and made the shot as Pierce picked up his 5th foul. Sam missed the free throw, and the score was now 83-78 Boston. Pierce sat as Kedrick Brown came in. Walker made a shot, but then Milwaukee got Official Help as the Coach was hit with a “T”. Bremer made a basket and the score was 88-79 with 7:23 to go.
Then Eric Williams picked up his 4th foul, and sent Milwaukee to the line. Michael Redd went 1-2, and the score was 88-80 with 7:09 left in the game. Milwaukee was making a run which only slowed when Walter made a three with 5:51 to go, making it 91-84. Bremer committed a foul, and timeout was called with 5:43 to go in the game.
After the timeout, Sam Cassell’s free throws were negated by Kedrick Brown’s three. With 5:25 left, it was now 94-86.
Then the Bucks ripped off 4 quick points to make it 94-90 with 4:15 remaining. Both teams moved back and forth on the court with no further score until timeout was called with 1:48 left in the game as Milwaukee had possession of the ball. After the timeout, Cassell was fouled by Bremer, and went 1-2. Walker rebounded the second missed free throw, and got it over to Pierce, who missed, but the rebound went to Eric Williams. Pierce missed again and Milwaukee took possession, missing on their end before Eric Williams committed his 5th personal foul. Tim Thomas went 1-2 at the line, and with 53 seconds left and the score now 94-92, the rebound went to Waltah!!
Pierce took it from there and made the basket, as Milwaukee took timeout with 35 seconds left and the score now 96-92 Boston. After the timeout, the Bucks missed on Ray Allen’s shot and Bremer took the rebound. Tim Thomas immediately fouled him, and Bremer went 1-2 at the line. Milwaukee took a 20 second timeout with 25 seconds left in the game and the score 97-92.
Following the timeout, the Bucks Ray Allen launched another three that missed and Kedrick got the rebound and the foul from Thomas, who fouled out. Kedrick missed both free throws with 18 seconds left and Milwaukee threw everyone against the boards in an attempt to score, which they did with 4 seconds left, making it 97-95. Then Ray Allen fouled Waltah! who agonizingly missed both free throws, but the Bucks never got another look at the basket as by the time Anthony Mason got the rebound, time was expiring.
The Celtics won the game, 97-95.
Boston shot 37-85 for 43.5% vs. the Bucks, who went 29-71 for 40.8% from the field. The C’s took—and made—more shots from the field. As far as 3 pt shots went, it was Boston going 9-26 for 34.6% and the Bucks hitting 10-23 for 43.5%. Boston took more threes; they made one more overall. Free throws were the same old story as Boston was 14-22 for 63.6%, while Milwaukee was 27-34 for 79.4%. It’s really annoying when you realize the majority of the free throw misses for Boston came at the very end of the game. Fast break points favored Boston 13-3, while turnovers were the province of the Bucks with a 17-14 edge. Paint points definitely went Boston’s way, 48-28.
The fourth quarter was hard to deal with, as the Celtics were outscored 30-19 and saw their double-digit lead vanish faster than the pink slip on LeBron James’ Hummer. The Celtics still have this tendency to ease the ball up the floor like there was a speed limit instead of a time limit.
Still, they withstood the Bucks run, which was
as heartening as the fact that they overcame the impressive start the Bucks
made. All in all, this was a really impressive win, every bit as
much as the win over Indiana. While it’s probably too late to make
a case for Walker or Pierce to start the All-Star game, I think that the
last few games have people thinking about at least one of them coming off
the bench in Atlanta.
J.R. Bremer: 6 points 6 rebounds 7 assists, 1 steal. Not much pointwise, but he made up for it in other ways.
Pierce: 15 points 5 rebounds 3 assists. Even on what one might call an off night.
Walker: 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals—and only one turnover and NO technical fouls! Wow.
Kedrick Brown: 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals. The Coach will shoot anyone stepping on his foot.
Vin Baker: 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks. This is much more like it!!
Walter McCarty: 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal. I platonically appreciate Waltah!
Eric Williams: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist.
I like it when Eric has games like this.
Shammond Williams: 16 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists. He, Bremer and Bruno were the only Celts on the court NOT in double figures, but Bruno played short minutes and Bremer contributed in other ways. What’s with Shammond?
Celtics free throw shooting: 63.6 AND missing
all those clutch free throws. Aaugh! Paul Pierce and Eric Williams
are exempted from mandatory free throw practice, since they both hit all
their free throws.
Now, the C’s prepare to wrench their poor Coach’s heart once more as they travel to Philadelphia for a game next Monday night. Remember, guys—the fact that the game is on a Holiday and on TNT does NOT mean you HAVE to play badly. Try to work against History, here, ok?
And that’s the view from the Doghouse.
|1st Q||2nd Q||3rd Q||4th Q||Final|