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The Celtics have welcomed five new players in the last 10 days (soon to be six with the addition of Carlos Arroyo, though the C’s let go D-Leaguer Chris Johnson to make room), and they needed every last one of them Sunday night against the Bucks. With Delonte West, Von Wafer, Glen Davis, Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal all out with injuries, the C’s were down to nine players total.
Just as he has time and time again, Paul Pierce took matters into his own hands in scoring 23 points with five rebounds and four assists to help the Celtics beat the Bucks 88-83. Ray Allen started slow but finished with 13 points (2/3 on threes), while Nenad Krstic continued to produce, finishing with 17 points (7/8 shooting) and a blocked shot.
Jeff Green saw extended time off the bench and even played for a bit as a power forward toward the end of the game as the Celtics closed the deal. Green scored 11 points (5/8 shooting) and it appears he will fill in nicely for the role of James Posey from the ’07-’08 Celtics.
Four of the Celtics starters played at least 33 minutes, with Rondo (6 points, 8 assists, 8 turnovers) and Allen playing more than 38 minutes. As soon as Wafer and West return from injury, Doc Rivers can start resting his guards more often.
The Bucks have their own devastating injuries, as they are currently playing without Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd, so nearly all of the offense rests in the left hand of Brandon Jennings. The speedy point guard is not only the team’s best player, but he’s the team’s best passer and the team’s most fearless shooter (as his 37% career mark from the field would indicate). Jennings scored 23 points (8/19 shooting) with six rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute returned after being out with an illness, and seemed down with the sickness. Why? Averaging just 5.7 points per game this season, Mbah a Moute scored 19 points on just 8/13 shooting with seven rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes.