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Celtics 99, Bucks 77: Recap

With Andrew Bogut out, the return of Mo Williams wasn't nearly enough as the best team in the NBA throttled the Bucks 99-77 at the Bradley Center. In the end the only interesting thing from a Bucks perspective was that Herb Kohl got to meet some of the paper bag revolutionaries. Former Buck Sam Cassell had 10 points and five assists in 23 minutes while Kevin Garnett had 19 points in just 27 minutes as the Celtics led by 18 at the half.

Three Bucks

  • Charlie Bell. Bell led the Bucks in scoring with 16 off the bench, converting 7/13 from the field. Unfortunately for the Bucks he was the only player who made more than half his shots as the Bucks finished at just 34% from the field.
  • Ramon Sessions. We'll keep highlighting Sessions' work since it's one of the few things worth keeping an eye on over the next month. Despite the game being over by halftime, Sessions saw only six minutes but scored five points (1/2 fg, 3/4 ft) along with a board and an assist. The down side of Mo returning is that it means Sessions is less likely to steal minutes at the point, given Larry Krystkowiak's preference for playing Ivey as the primary backup to Mo.
  • Sam Cassell. OK, so Sam doesn't qualify as a Buck anymore, but in his first meaningful action for the Celtics he showed he's still got it, coming off the bench in the first half and hitting four shots in row to help Boston build an 18-point halftime lead.

Three Numbers

  • .519/.341. Look at the shooting percentages and it won't be hard to figure out how this game went. The C's starters shot .556 from the field and also got good performances off the bench from the aforementioned Cassell and former Buck Eddie House (17 points, 7/11 fg). The Celtics might not have all-world defenders at every position, but their perimeter defenders (especially with Tony Allen starting ahead of Ray Allen) don't allow easy access to the lane and when they do, the bigs consistently challenge shots.  The result: the most efficient defense in the league (95.8 pts/100 possessions).
  • 22. The Bucks' brickfest gave them plenty of chances to grab offensive rebounds, and to their credit they did exceptionally well in that department, grabbing 22 offensive rebounds against one of the league's best rebounding teams. Since the defensive team is generally about three times as likely to gather a missed shot, it's almost impossible to outrebound a team that has such a commanding edge in shooting percentage. Yet the Bucks managed to do just that (47-42) despite the Celtics' coming in as the league's 10th best defensive rebounding team and 6th best rebounding team oveall.
  • 5. Neither team had anyone with more than five assists (Cassell/Mo), but the Celtics' unselfishness was a team effort as they racked up 28 assists on 41 field goals.

Three Good

  • Mo healthy. Mo Williams admitted leading up to the game that he likely wouldn't be at 100% for a couple games, and his five point/five rebound night suggested as much. Still, the Bucks have had a hard time of late with Ivey and Bell carrying the PG load and Williams' return will help if only by cutting into the time that Ivey has had to play at the point.
  • Scouting Sessions. It's almost impossible to get a good read on a guy when he's only gotten about 15 minutes of PT all year, but we're at least getting some glimpse of what Sessions can do. While he doesn't have the three point shooting ability of the Bucks' other three PGs, he seems far more adept at getting into the lane than Bell and Ivey and (from scouting reports and what we've seen) looks to have that "pure point" knack which Mo Williams often gets knocked for. Plus we haven't seen incontrovertible evidence that he's doomed to be a terrible defender, which is more than we can say for most of the Bucks.
  • Bag it up!. We'll have more on the bag revolt in a bit, but just getting this picture on the AP photo wire in many ways legitimized the big effort that Dan and company from RealGM put into organizing it. With about five minutes left in the game, a group walked past ushers down towards Kohl's seats about five rows up from the court. RealGMer Nowak, sporting his beloved Ruben Patterson jersey, held up a  "Where Amazing Happens" sign and then the group put on their bags. Understandably Kohl then summoned the ushers to escort them out, but no one was ejected. Message sent. It was never likely to change anything, but Bucks fans (for a night at least) can feel confident that Herb Kohl knows how displeased they are.

Three Bad

  • Chuckin' Charlie. No doubt that Villanueva's raw numbers have been way up of late, but tonight we saw the flip side of CV's streaky scoring: a 4/15 shooting night (10 points) along with eight boards. Though he's generally been aggressive lately, Villanueva's shot selection hasn't always been admirable, reflected in his continued mediocre shooting percentage. Perhaps in part because of Bogut's absence, he was looking to shot early and often, but could never find the touch that he's had for much of the past two weeks.
  • Redd blues. Redd nearly matched Villanueva's off night with a 4/12 shooting performance, finishing with 15 points and a team-worst -19 rating. Needless to say, with Bogut out and Mo trying to shake off the rust, the Bucks couldn't afford an off night from either CV or Redd, much less both, but that's exactly what they got.
  • No Ray, no problem. For a team that was supposedly paper thin behind their big three, the Celtics have done just fine without Allen this year while winning four out of five games. Of course, two of those games have now been against the Bucks, who will have two more chances to see Allen in Celtics green before the season is over.