Celtics edge Bucks in rough game, players and coach ejectedWisconsin Sports
- Paul Pierce had 24 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 105-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview.
MILWAUKEE (The Sports Network) - Paul Pierce had 24 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 105-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview.
Entering Saturday's game, Boston held the fourth spot in the East while the Bucks were fifth. Those positions remained the same after the contest, as the Celtics are a game behind Atlanta for third, and Milwaukee is half a game in front of sixth-place Miami.
The Bucks and Celtics play again Wednesday in the final game of the regular season, and if they do retain those positions, it could make for an exciting first-round matchup, as Saturday's contest was a contentious affair that included a late-game dustup.
Boston's Glen Davis was issued a technical foul with 2:35 left, when Milwaukee's Kurt Thomas was called for a flagrant foul. Then, with 2:22 left, Pierce and Milwaukee's Jerry Stackhouse got tangled and were each given technical fouls. Bucks head coach Scott Skiles got two technical fouls at this point and was ejected.
"Just because there might be some technicals and I get tossed out of a game doesn't necessarily mean there was a lot of intensity," Skiles said. "Having said that, there was [a lot of intensity] in pockets of the game for sure. I felt like we didn't play very well, but we played pretty hard."
The resulting free throws put the Celtics in control and on the path to victory, which they got despite playing without forward and emotional leader Kevin Garnett, who sat out to rest. Ray Allen sank 11-of-11 free throws and ended with 21 points, while Rajon Rondo added 15 points and 10 assists as Boston rebounded from Friday's home loss to Washington.
"The only way you're going to beat Milwaukee is matching their energy, because they're going to bring it," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. "And if you don't match it, they'll beat you."
John Salmons scored 21 and Brandon Jennings had 19 points to pace the Bucks, who had won their last four.