The starters eased their way into this one in the first quarter, allowing Milwaukee to scamper out to a quick lead. Then the Celtics’ almost unrecognizable bench applied a bit of sabotage of its own, ringing up a whopping four points in the first half of the second quarter. By the half, Boston was appropriately down 49-43 and even though they had identified it as a trap game beforehand, it appeared they might go ahead and lose it anyway.
Which you kind of have to grudgingly admire.
But as is becoming clearer and clearer with this Celtics team – the presence of the big four ensures the green are never out of any game. Especially when the opposition is missing its best player (Andrew Bogut, who sat this one out with a strained muscle in his ribcage).
The Celtics put it together in the second half to close out this mostly artless win. Paul Pierce was assertive all night against the undermanned Bucks, going for 23 points and Kevin Garnett added his 23rd double-double of the season, with 14 and 11 in 37 minutes and a big block in the closing minute to secure the win.
A big part of the second half turnaround was slowing up Brandon Jennings (23 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds), who outplayed Rajon Rondo by a wide margin tonight. Rondo’s awful night ended with as many turnovers (8) as assists. A clear point guard fail. However, despite Rondo’s poor game, he was the guy Doc Rivers inserted to try and get the offense moving in the second quarter when the Avery Bradley, Ray Allen, Sasha Pavlovic, Jeff Green and Troy Murphy horror-show had let the Bucks pull away. It didn’t really work until the rest of the starters joined him.
It’s a work-in-progress, folks, and it will be for another few weeks at least. Which is why it’s so important the Celtics got the win, above all else.
That’s the only real relevance this game will play in the entire 2010-11 season.
So, mission accomplished.
New Guy Update: