All five Celtics starters reached double figures, led by Jordan Crawford‘s 25 points, and the C’s avoided falling victim to the three-win Bucks for the third time in as many tries this season with a 108-100 home win.
Starters Jeff Green (18 points), Brandon Bass (16 points, 9 rebounds), Jared Sullinger (12 points, 8 boards) and Avery Bradley (15 points) all reached double digits, and Courtney Lee added 11 off the bench.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Long distance: The Celtics sunk their first four 3-point attempts — a pair of Bradley treys sandwiched around one apiece from Crawford and Green — to grab an early 18-9 advantage and force a Bucks timeout. While the C’s missed their next 10 3-point attempts, the early barrage staked them to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and a late string of triples gave them 11 on 24 attempts for the night. Crawford, Bradley and Green combined for 10 of them.
Over the Hump: The ankle injury to Kelly Olynyk finally created an opening for increased Kris Humphries minutes, and the veteran forward has responded with his usual rebounding prowess. As he has for his previous seven NBA seasons, Humphries entered the game averaging double-digit boards per 36 minutes (10.5), and that number only stands to improve after he snagged seven boards in his first seven minutes against Milwaukee.
Happy Lee returns: After missing the previous two games with soreness in his left knee, Lee scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting off the bench. He didn’t provide his usual stat sheet stuffing, but the Celtics desperately needed his offense after seeing their second unit get outscored by 49 points in his two-game absence.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Closing time: The Celtics had leads as large as 13 and 15 points in the first and second quarters, respectively, but watched those slim to single digits in the final minutes of each frame. Led by a bench that outscored their C’s counterparts 8-2 early, the Bucks finished on a 14-6 run to trim Boston’s lead to 28-23 after one. Likewise, Milwaukee closed the second quarter on an 11-3 run that cut the Celtics’ lead to 48-41 at the break.
Turd quarter: After limiting their turnovers to five in the first half, the Celtics committed six in the third, leading to nearly half (8) of the Bucks’ 22 points in the quarter. Given the C’s own defense, which turned 14 Milwaukee turnovers into 17 points through 36 minutes, the game should have been well in hand entering the final frame.