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Milwaukee at Boston

Big Three rest as Bucks beat Celtics; Miami next for Boston

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

BOSTON -- Ray Allen watched from the bench as his Boston Celtics lost to the Milwaukee Bucks. Then he faced the television in the locker room showing the Miami Heat on their way to a win.

That victory determined the Celtics first-round playoff opponent -- the Heat, not the Bucks.

It made no difference to him.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGB
1x-Atlanta-
2x-Boston-
3x-Brooklyn-
4x-Chicago-
5o-Charlotte-
6o-Cleveland-
7o-Detroit-
8y-Indiana-
Still alive
9z-Miami-
10x-Milwaukee-
11y-New York-
Eliminated
12o-Orlando-
13o-Philadelphia-
14o-Toronto-
15o-Washington-
Complete Playoff Race

"It has nothing to do with those two teams," Allen said after the Bucks' 106-95 win Wednesday night, the Celtics seventh loss in 10 games. "It's all about us."

And that includes the Big Three. On Wednesday, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Allen all sat out to avoid possible injury as the Celtics already had clinched the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

"This is the healthiest we've been," coach Doc Rivers said. "I think this is the best Kevin's been since early in the season. I think Paul is feeling fantastic right now."

The game began as a possible first-round preview if Milwaukee won and Miami lost to New Jersey. However, the Heat beat the Nets 94-86 in double-overtime. That meant the Celtics would face the fifth-seeded Heat while the sixth-seeded Bucks would meet the third-seeded Atlanta Hawks.

The Bucks had cleared out of the dressing room by the time the matchups were set. But they were pleased with a season in which they finished at 46-36, a 12-game improvement over last season. That was the biggest in the Eastern Conference as the Bucks snapped a two-game losing streak and are in the playoffs for the first time in four years.

"We didn't want to go into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak," said Jerry Stackhouse, who tied Luke Ridnour with a team-high 17 points. "Winning your last game gives you a little bit of confidence."

Even if it came against a team that didn't use four starters -- their big three plus center Kendrick Perkins. He has 15 technical fouls and another might have brought a one-game suspension in the playoffs. Rivers said a call to the NBA didn't provide an answer as to whether a suspension would be served then or at the beginning of next season.

Milwaukee used its starters more sparingly than usual.

"That was our plan going into the game and yet still try to win," coach Scott Skiles said. "We just wanted to play well and get some momentum and get focused."

The game lacked defense and excitement. Spectators moved toward the exits midway through the fourth quarter.

"I'm glad the regular season is over," Bucks rookie point guard Brandon Jennings said. "Now we can get down to serious business. Every game matters."

Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 15 assists for the Celtics.

"Everybody says they have three stars -- KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce," Jennings said, "but he's the key."

The other three, though, will be well rested.

"I feel good about my team," Rondo said. "We had guys rest tonight, the older guys. So I'm excited. It's a different atmosphere playoff time, a different feeling, different vibe, everything."

For the Celtics, Marquis Daniels scored 13 points and Shelden Williams and Nate Robinson added 12 each.

"This is my first playoff experience so I want to go all the way and help this team do that," said Robinson, acquired from the New York Knicks on Feb. 18.

The Celtics finished at 50-32, their worst record in three seasons. They won the NBA title in 2008 but were eliminated in the Eastern semifinals in 2009.

On Wednesday night, they took their last lead, 72-71, on a 3-pointer by Michael Finley with 4:43 left in the third quarter. Then the Bucks finished the quarter with a 17-6 run that gave them an 88-78 lead going into the fourth. Milwaukee led by at least 10 points the rest of the way.

Still, Skiles said, "Our defense is still not where I'd like it to be."

The game had none of the intensity of Boston's 105-90 win at Milwaukee last Saturday night in which the physical play picked up in the final 3:32.

In that game, Kurt Thomas got a flagrant foul, Glen Davis got a technical and Skiles was ejected.

Notes

  • The teams combined for just 15 turnovers.
  • G Oliver Lafayette had seven points in his first game for the Celtics after playing for Fort Wayne in the NBA Development League.
  • Milwaukee's starters scored just 37 points and none played more than 23 minutes.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Jerry Stackhouse, who scores 17 points in the victory, bodies up against Shelden Williams.  (AP)
Jerry Stackhouse, who scores 17 points in the victory, bodies up against Shelden Williams. (AP)
Scoreboard
Milwaukee (46-36) «23323318106
Boston (50-32) 2030281795
MIL:J. Stackhouse 17 Pts
MIL:D. Gadzuric 9 Reb
MIL:L. Ridnour 8 Ast
BOS:R. Rondo 21 Pts
BOS:R. Wallace 6 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 15 Ast
Players of the Game
BostonMilwaukee

R. Rondo

L. Ridnour
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
216151728

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Milwaukee
L. Mbah a Moute, SF223-51-53307
K. Thomas, PF220-40-06130
J. Salmons, SF222-78-812012
C. Delfino, SG193-52-25309
B. Jennings, PG174-80-01249
J. Stackhouse, SF287-110-254117
D. Gadzuric, C267-120-191514
L. Ridnour, PG266-62-228217
C. Bell, SG241-70-04012
E. Ilyasova, SF185-73-430215
D. Jackson, PF91-50-02022
R. Ivey, PG81-20-00102
A. Bogut, CDid Not Play
M. Redd, SGDid Not Play
P. Brezec, CDid Not Play
Totals 40-7916-24412520106
 50.6%66.7% 
Boston
R. Rondo, PG327-147-12615121
M. Daniels, SG316-90-152413
R. Wallace, PF294-90-06139
M. Finley, SF273-70-00118
G. Davis, PF204-70-03168
B. Scalabrine, C302-50-02015
S. Williams, PF283-66-641212
O. Lafayette, PG223-60-04207
O. Lafayette, G223-60-04207
N. Robinson, PG214-132-240412
P. Pierce, SFDid Not Play
K. Garnett, PFDid Not Play
R. Allen, SGDid Not Play
T. Allen, SGDid Not Play
K. Perkins, CDid Not Play
T. Gaffney, FDid Not Play
Totals 36-7615-2134232295
 47.4%71.4% 
Other Games
Cle 83 Final
Atl 99
SA 89 Final
Dal 96
NO 123 Final
Hou 115
NJ 86 Final
Mia 94
Det 103 Final
Min 98
Phi 111 Final
Orl 125
Mem 105 Final
OKC 114
Ind 97 Final
Wash 98
NY 113 Final
Tor 131
Chi 98 Final
Char 89
LAL 91 Final
LAC 107
GS 122 Final
Port 116
Pho 100 Final
Utah 86