Celtics 107, Bucks 104: Recap

Doc Rivers had little interest in actually winning this game, but the Bucks' lethal combination of zero intensity early and a failure to execute late allowed the Celtics' scrubs to grind out a 107-104 OT win. Rivers, perhaps forgetting it was April 2008 and not April 2007, watched Kevin Garnett (21 points in 19 minutes) and Paul Pierce (14 in 20) build commanding Celtics' leads in both the first and third quarters, but the Bucks were then able to fight back in spite of themselves against Eddie House, Tony Allen, James Posey, Leon Powe and Glen Davis. Andrew Bogut racked up his first career triple-double with 15 points, 15 boards and 10...turnovers. Yikes.

Three Bucks

  • Bobby Simmons. Simmons' six fouls prevented him from playing a role in the game's end, but his 13 points in 26 minutes helped spark the fourth quarter comeback that improbably allowed the Bucks to turn a
  • Michael Redd. Redd scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, capping the Bucks' comeback with a corner three-ball that tied the game with 10 seconds remaining.
  • Ray Allen. Nope, no longer a Buck, but in a game where almost no one played well for the home team, Milwaukee fans at least got to see their former hero back in action for the first time since he moved back East. Like the rest of the C's starters, Allen played only limited minutes, but contributed 11 points on 4/10 shooting in 22 minutes.

Three Numbers

  • 46. Both teams showed little care for the ball, tallying 23 turnovers each. Bogut (10) and Ramon Sessions (5) set the tone for the Bucks, while Big Baby led the Celtics with seven.
  • 33-19. After leading through three quarters only to be blown out in the fourth on Sunday, the Bucks did the reverse tonight, trailing by 14 through three quarters before a 33-19 fourth sent the game into OT. Redd's 12 along with Royal Ivey's (surprising) nine led the way as the Bucks had the benefit of facing the Celtics without any of their key players on the floor.
  • -27. Charlie Villanueva looked like a guy trying to prove people wrong...namely, the three people who still want to make him the Bucks' starting PF in 2008/2009. Perfectly summarizing his basketball existence, CV followed up his 22/13 effort in Indiana by scoring two points (1/6 fg) in 16 minutes while racking up a game-worst minus-27 differential.

Three Good

  • Ivey, Simmons and Mason trying. Shooting-wise, both Mason (4/15 fg) and Ivey (3/9) were poor to say the least. In fact, Ivey's attempts to look for his shot and drive to the hoop in the first half bordered on comical. But while most of the Bucks looked lethargic and disinterested defensively, Ivey actually looked to be trying on both ends in the fourth, setting a tone that Simmons and Mason followed through the rest of the game. Nowhere was that more evident than in the OT when Mason won a 40-foot battle for a loose ball, diving to the floor and allowing the Bucks to get a timeout.
  • Redd's big shot. With Ray Allen missing the teams' first two meetings, Tony Allen had been making a habit of shutting down Redd, and that was again the case for most of the first three quarters. But Redd pump-faked Allen on a corner catch and, after watching him fly by, calmly stroked a three to tie it at 99 with 10 seconds remaining.
  • "At least it was a good game." It's something of a farce that the game was as close as it was--only Doc Rivers stopped the Celtics from winning easily. But especially with the Bucks' lottery position fairly locked in, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a comeback and a competitive finish (even if it does involve Brian Scalabrine).

Three Bad

  • Bogut's triple-double. For better or worse, Bogut filled up the box score: 15 points (5/14 fg), 15 rebounds, 10 turnovers, five assists, four blocks, and two steals. Bogut was simply brutal on the offensive end, doing his best three stooges impression in coughing up 10 turnovers--a nice mix of telegraphed passes, three second violations, fumbled passes, and balls simply ripped out of his hands. A trio of great passes from Sessions helped him score 10 first quarter points, but by then he already had five turnovers. And after another field goal in the second made him 5/8 from the field, he went completely dark offensively, missing his final six shots and going into a shell on the offensive end: ah yes, the return of "Emo Bogut." Perhaps wisely, he simply gave up looking for his shot and focused on setting picks and passing from the top of the key instead (hence his five assists), but still managed a few more turnovers and a terribly awkward post miss midway through OT. Perhaps the most unfortunate side of these sorts of games is how they reinforce the Bucks' reliance on Redd to create offense and ignore his teammates. While Bogut in particular has frequently alluded to Redd's nasty habit of going one-on-five, in games like this he has little choice because Bogut essentially concedes that he can't score out of the post.
  • Bucks' starters. The Celtics' starters were utterly dominant against their Milwaukee counterparts, and only Doc Rivers' reluctance to play them more than 20 minutes each kept the final scoreline remotely respectable. Offensively, Garnett in particular toyed with Charlie Villanueva and Michael Ruffin, while defensively the Celtics were active and deflecting passes while stoutly preventing open looks inside and out. That was in stark contrast to the Bucks, who allowed the Celtics to get wherever they wanted on the court. The C's jumped out to a 17-2 lead to start the game before the Bucks somehow clawed it back to a 32-29 deficit after one. It was then more of the same in the third, as Pierce's three turned a 60-45 halftime lead into a 74-49 edge four minutes into the second half.
  • Ramon's braincramp. Like Bogut, Sessions filled up the box score in both good and bad ways, setting a new career high with 13 points along with seven assists, six rebounds, three steals and five turnovers. He found Bogut on a handful of nice assists while also looking a little more comfortable attacking the hoop. But Sessions also continued his habit of poor decision-making late in games--remember his bad foul against Quentin Richardson and less egregious but poorly-timed bump on Gilbert Arenas--by going for a layup at the end of OT with the Bucks down three. Like Mo Williams against the Bobcats in the second game of the season, Sessions seemed unaware of the clock as he pushed the ball upcourt following a free throw miss, and he couldn't even make his layup as the ball rolled off the iron at the horn.
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