Celts blow early lead, fall to Bucks, 91-88
Bucks guard Brandon Jennings shoots during the third quarter of Milwaukee's 91-88 win over the Boston Celtics at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday. (Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE)
MILWAUKEE - Brandon Jennings' three-pointer with 24 seconds to play put Milwaukee head for good in a 91-88 victory over Boston on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Already shorthanded without key reserves Beno Udrih and Mike Dunleavy Jr., Bucks coach Scott Skiles shook up his starting lineup, starting Epke Udoh and Marquis Daniels in place of Samuel Dalembert and Tobias Harris.
Larry Sanders followed up a 10-block effort in Minnesota Friday night with a 17-point, 15-rebound performance against the Celtics. He was one of four Bucks to score in double-figures, along with Monta Ellis (17), Ersan Ilyasova (15) and Jennings (13).
After making 7 of their first 8 shots in building a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, Boston shot 36 percent the rest of the game. Paul Pierce scored 19 points and Jeff Green had 18 to lead the Celtics (9-8), who also got double-digit contributions from Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Lee.
Milwaukee (8-7) took the lead early in the second half but after going ahead by as many as six in late in the half, Boston clawed back and took an 88-85 lead on Pierce's three with 1:44 to play.
Pierce would miss on a short-range jumper with 36 seconds left that would have put Boston up by three but the rebound went out of bounds and possession went to Milwaukee. Coming out of a Bucks' timeout, Daniels found Jennings, who connected from 26 feet to put the Bucks ahead for good, and cap off their second major comeback victory in a week.
In the second quarter, Milwaukee came roaring back and got within seven when Ellis turned a steal into a breakaway layup and drew the foul to make it a 38-31 game with 4:21 to play. After a defensive stop, Jennings' layup got Milwaukee within five with 3:55 left in the half.
Ilyasova hit a 3-pointer from the top with 2:55 left to get Milwaukee within four, 42-38. Daniels had a chance to cut the deficit to just two, but his near point-blank shot was stuffed by the Celtics, who went down the floor and made it a six-point game on Green's layup.
Milwaukee cut it to 46-45 with 54.9 to play in the first half when Ellis threw behind his back to Sanders for the dunk and foul. After Boston added a pair on Pierce's two free throws, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hit a jumper for his first points of the season.
Leandro Barbosa's 3-point attempt at the buzzer was short and Boston went into the half with a 48-47 lead.
NOTES: Neither Udrih nor Dunleavy, key Bucks reserves, were available after suffering injuries Friday at Minnesota. Udrih is out 1-2 weeks with an ankle sprain and Dunleavy is day-to-day with knee soreness. ... Terry made his first start of the season against Milwaukee on Nov. 10 and has been in the starting five ever since, a span of 12 consecutive games