BOSTON - One more, for good measure. Instead of taking the final game of the season off, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo suited up to help the Boston Celtics beat down the Milwaukee Bucks, 87-74, in the regular season finale on Thursday night at TD Garden.
Boston's win made its final record 39-27, but by virtue of an Atlanta Hawks victory over the Dallas Mavericks (106-89), the Celtics will open the playoffs on the road against Atlanta, which clinched home court advantage with its win over the Mavs in its season finale.
Rondo was held scoreless for Boston, but stretched his streak of double-digit assists to 24 games, finishing with 15 dimes. Garnett scored four and had two rebounds in 11 minutes and Paul Pierce, who left the game in the first quarter with a sprained big toe but returned, had 12 points in six minutes. Avery Bradley scored 14, Mickael Pietrus and Ryan Hollins had nine points (Hollins also had five blocks) and E'Twaun Moore added eight points.
"They handled us pretty good obviously," said Bucks head coach Scott Skiles. "They played tight defense that we have played in the past. We haven't played it this year. They took us out of what we wanted to run. We had to start over dribbling a little bit and just had great difficulty with getting any baskets. Ball movement, on the occasion we could move the ball, we were able to at least get a decent look. That's championship type defense."
Boston will open the playoffs on Sunday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta (7 p.m. EST). Game 2 wil be played on Tuesday night before the series shifts to Boston, where Game 3 (Friday) and Game 4 (Sunday) will be played.