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The Celtics hadn’t lost two meetings in a row to the Bucks since 2007, and Paul Pierce made sure the Celtics continued that streak tonight as he led his team to victory, 96-94.
Pierce scored eight of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to go with 9 rebounds. Pierce appeared to be fueled by Monta Ellis, who finished with a game-high 32, as the two exchanged buckets on several possessions at a momentum shifting point in the fourth quarter.
Rajon Rondo’s streak of double digit assist games hung in the balance Saturday, but Rondo zipped a pass to Kevin Garnett for a layup with a minute to play to bring his total to 10 on the evening and extend his streak to 30 games. Rondo trails only John Stockton and Magic Johnson on the list of consecutive regular season games with 10 or more assists.
Garnett finished with 18 points and 6 rebounds, and Jason Terry impressed in his first start with the Celtics connecting on 5-of-7 shots for 15 points. Samuel Dalembert had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and several highlight worthy dunks for a Bucks team that controlled the paint for most of this one.
Besides getting the win, the biggest bright spot for the Celtics was probably the strong play of Jeff Green. Green has struggled so far this season after signing a 4-year deal worth about 9-million per season, but turned it on tonight going for 12 points and 2 blocks. Green scored two aggressive layups halfway through the fourth quarter to help the Celtics gain the lead in a game they had trailed most of the night.
Former Celtic Marquis Daniels matched Green’s production from the Bucks bench, he too finished with 12 points. Unlike their last meeting with the Bucks, Rondo and Courtney Lee were able to keep Brandon Jennings in check, holding the ‘Eastern Conference Player of the Week’ to just four points on 1-for-11 shooting.
While it wasn’t pretty through three quarters, the Celtics gutted out a good road win Saturday night against an athletic, potential playoff team.
The Celtics now travel down I-94 to Chicago where they’ll face the Bulls and former Celtics’ assistant coach, Tom Thibodeau, Monday night.