News/analysis after the jump...
But since then, the Bucks have gone 24-18 while the Celtics have been only a shade better at 24-17. Which begs the question: how many people would have bet that the Bucks could match the Celtics over any 42-game stretch? I'll let you decide whether it says more about the Bucks' improvement or the Celtics' relative struggles.
That said, the C's have bounced back from a bad end to February (a home loss to the Nets certainly qualifies) with four straight wins, though they were taken to the wire by the lowly Wiz on Sunday night in Boston. Washington surprisingly led 79-66 with just over six minutes remaining, but a Pierce-and-Rondo-led 20-4 onslaught helped Boston avoid another embarrassing home defeat. For some reason that's been a recurring theme of the season: Boston is 18-11 at home but 22-10 on the road.
O-fer. We know Kevin Garnett isn't the same guy who won an MVP seven years, or for that matter the guy who led Boston to a championship two years ago. Still, the guy who will be in the lineup tonight in Milwaukee is still damn good and the Bucks will have their hands full dealing with him on both ends. Which makes his 0/7 shooting night against Washington on Tuesday so perplexing. Unlike the teams' first meeting when Mbah a Moute was starting at SF and matching up with Paul Pierce, this time around Luc will start off checking Garnett. Though Garnett does most of his offensive damage from the perimeter these days--he takes 3.0 shots/game at the rim, less than Pierce (3.7) and barely more than Ray Allen (2.7)--I'm curious if matching up with an undersized PF like Mbah a Moute will tempt Garnett to go inside more.
Rondo'ed. Jennings and company couldn't prevent Rondo from getting into the lane at will in Boston, and the 24-year old former UK Wildcat nearly racked up a triple-double in the process (11 pts, 13 ast, 9 reb). Jennings has been defending more consistently of late but Rondo offers as good a challenge as any. On a related note, how is it possible that Rondo is listed at 6'1" / 171 lbs and Jennings at 6'1" / 169 lbs? I guess Rondo plays bigger because he has long arms, but I have a hard time believing he's only a couple pounds heavier. Dude is strong...and Brandon, not so much.