Thanks to a solid second half, the Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks,100-91, Thursday evening. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 25 points, and carried the Celtics through some mid-game adversity.
"Paul was aggressive tonight," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers post-game. "I don't think he liked how we finished the game the other night (against the Hawks.)"
Boston took an early lead, which they held onto for all but just over a minute left in the first half. They were able to get to the basket and create a solid lead through the first half. The Celtics started to have difficulty guarding the Bucks as the first half went on. The Celtics found it increasingly difficult to get to the basket as the half ticked to a close, and failed on a few three pointers they tried to make.
After allowing the Bucks to go on an eight point run to tie the game with just over a minute left in the first half, the Celtics defense bounced back in the second half. Greg Stiemsma came off the bench and helped the defense with a series of outstanding contributions, amassing five blocks, just one off his season high. He also had four steals.
One of the key plays to seal the Celtics' win was in the fourth quarter, when Rajon Rondo stripped Brandon Jennings of the ball, drilbbled down court, and got to the basket alone for a reverse layup to give the Celtics an 11 point lead with just 3:26 remaining.
Three Celtics finished the evening with double-doubles: Kevin Garnett (16 points, 10 rebounds), Rondo (10 points, 14 assists) and Brandon Bass (12 points, 10 rebounds.) Tonight was Rondo's twelfth straight game with 12 or more assists.Brandon Jennings had 19 points to lead the Bucks in scoring on the night.
According to Celtics play by play announcer Sean Grande, the performance moved Pierce to 26th all time in league scoring, passing Clyde Drexler.
The Celtics are now 25-21 seventh in the east, and are only a half game back of the Philadelphia 76ers in the Atlantic Division, who they will face Friday night. Milwaukee moves to 21-25 on the season and ninth place in the East. The loss ended the Bucks' six game win streak.