It was another nail-biter, but the Celtics will take it. Undermanned as they are, they keep finding ways to win and Sunday night in Milwaukee was no exception, with the Celtics coming alive defensively in the second half and beating the Bucks, 89-83. Paul Pierce led the Celts with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a big three-point play in the final seconds to seal the win.
Nenad Krstic was big for the Celtics, scoring 17 points on 7-of-8 from the floor, and Kevin Garnett had a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, making some big plays late. Garnett drilled a baseline jumper with 38.5 seconds left to give the C's a four point lead, and then, after a Milwaukee free throw, posted a huge blocked shot on streaking Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings, who had a seemingly open lane to the rim.
The Celts won this one despite subpar performances from their defense as a whole and, uncharacteristically, by Rajon Rondo. Rondo had eight assists, but he also tied a season high with eight turnovers. And the defense allowed Milwaukee, the league's lowest scoring team, to score 20 points in the game's first five minutes and lead by six at the half. Jennings had 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals to pace the Bucks, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 19 points and seven rebounds. Milwaukee lost its shooting touch after halftime, finishing the night at 41.3 percent. The Celtics shot 51 percent and outscored the hosts by 12 in the second half.
Ray Allen added 13 points for the Celts and Jeff Green posted his second straight double digit game with 11. The win was the Celts fifth straight and eighth out of nine. They are now 46-15 and hold a three game lead in the Eastern Conference standings over second place Chicago and a four game lead over third place Miami. The C's are now off until Wednesday night, when they will take on the L.A. Clippers at TD Garden.