UPDATE (11:16 P.M.) – The Miami Heat held off the Nets in double overtime to clinch the 5th seed and a 1st round date with the C’s, starting in Boston either Saturday or Sunday. The official announcement will be made tonight after a conference call at 1 a.m, following the conclusion of the Suns-Jazz contest.
When Brian Scalabrine’s return is the highlight of the night for the TD Garden, you know it’s a meaningless evening and that’s what we had tonight as Milwaukee cruised to an easy 106-95 victory in Beantown. The Bucks played everyone, still fighting for a possibility of the 5 seed and the right to matchup with Boston this weekend.
Meanwhile, Doc sat out the starters (sans Rondo) and let the reserves have their day. Sloppiness ensued and while the C’s were able to hang with the Bucks through the 1st half, Milwaukee’s bench assumed control in the 2nd half, shooting the lights out from the outside to send the fans home early on fan appreciation night.
There’s really nothing to be taken from this one, and that’s a good thing, since there were no standout performances from the Green. Rajon Rondo led the way with as much of a ho hum night, despite his 21 points and 15 assists. He worked on his post game down low in the 2nd half against Brandon Jennings with some success, but struggled with his jumper once again.
Besides Rondo, Marquis Daniels had his best performance in a couple months with 13 points and Oliver Lafayette made a nice debut with 7 points and a couple assists on 3 of 3 shooting. He may have played himself into the playoff rotation. Kidding of course……I think.
Nate Robinson did nothing to improve his rotation standing, despite extended minutes, shooting a paltry 4 of 13, including 2 of 7 from deep, for just 12 points in just under two quarters of floor time.
With the underwhelming from Robinson, Doc reiterated in the postgame he would be sticking to a rotation that doesn’t include Robinson or Daniels.
“I thought they both played hard. You know, Marquis clearly was better on the post tonight, which is what we wanted. But for right now, the rotation’s pretty much set.”
All in all, the goal was to stay healthy through tonight, and with Boston losing 7 of their final 10 games, it was the one thing to be optimistic about heading into this postseason:
“It didn’t look good three months ago, or two months ago. We started out great, I mean we started out in great health and then it went away. And we’ve struggled getting it back, but this is the healthiest we’ve been since early in the season.
“I think it’s the best KG has been. I think Paul is feeling fantastic right now. So this is the healthiest, this is the best we can be right now. And that’s the good part.”
A quick parting note on our friends the Bucks. I know they were “preferred” matchup in the 1st round for this Celtic team, especially without Bogut, but with their outside shooters, I feel like they would have given The Green a tough go of it.
With the trouble Boston has had defending the 3 ball recently, the Bucks go 6 deep with guys who knock down shots from downtown with regularity. With Delfino, Jennings, Salmons, Ridnour, Stackhouse, Ilyasova, it’s not exactly murder’s row but it’s a scrappy group that plays smart, fundamental halfcourt basketball.
All in all that’s a much better supporting cast than Wade has, especially as far as outside shooters, go. Obviously that ignores the Wade impact himself, but let’s just say I’m not crushed we are not playing the Bucks next week. They could have been a tough out for this team….then again anytime will be at this point.
* I’m not sure we will see Brian Scalabrine play a meaningful game in an NBA uniform next season. I love Scal as much as the next guy, and obviously he will fill out an NBA roster for the veteran’s minimum somewhere, (probably here actually) but the guy really struggled out there in 30 minutes. He’s suffering a shoulder injury, which probably had a lot to do with his problems, but just brutal to watch.
* Charlie Bell is a terrible outside shooter.
* Signs your opponent doesn’t care. Dan Gadzuric goes for 14 and 9 with a monster dunk to boot.
* The Bucks bench overall dominated this game, with Illyasova, Stackhouse, Ridnour and Gadzuric combining for 63 of the team’s 106 points on 25 of 36 shooting, with 8 of those coming from deep.
* Rondo had a couple cute nice little post-ups down low on Brandon Jennings in the 2nd half. Something to keep an eye on.
* Bring on The Heat. Plenty of coverage of the 1st round matchup coming tomorrow.