Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Celtics 102 - Bucks 86: Green, Olynyk lift C's past NBA's worst

Milwaukee - Jared Sullinger continues to prove why he should start in this week's Rising Stars Challange at All-Star Weekend.

The rising star registered his sixth consecutive double-double, 18th overall this season, and Boston evened their season series at two games apiece by beating the Buck 102-86 last night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The Celtics, lead by Jeff Green's 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field, were without their starting backcourt of Rajon Rondo (rest) and Avery Bradley (MRI on right ankle). Kelly Olynyk, who was also chosen to participate in this weekend's rookie/sophmore game, notched his first double-double of his career, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, while Sullinger finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

"We're with each other every single day working out with each other," said Pressey of his teammate Olynyk. "I just love when he does well. I see the work he puts in on and off the court, and when he does well, it puts a smile on my face."

Phill Pressey and Gerald Wallace got the start in the backcourt, as they combined for 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting and 10 assists. Brandon Bass led all Celtics scorers at halftime with 12 points.

For Milwaukee (9-42), they were without Ersan Ilyasova O.J. Mayo, Larry Sanders, Caron Butler and Luke Ridnour. Brandon Knight led the home team with 22 points.

Gary Neal chipped in with 17 points and 16 from John Henson, who left the game late in the fourth due to an ankle injury.

Considering the Bucks have given the Celtics fits all season, this game started off back and fourth throughout the first half. There were 10 lead changes and six ties, and with the help of Brandon Bass's 12 first quarter points, Boston was up 26-24 by the start of the second quarter.

At intermission, the C's led 49-46 despite shooting just 40 percent in the first 24 minutes. It was the Celtics' 11 second-chance points compared to Milwaukee's one, that kept them ahead. By the end of the third, Boston was outscored 22-2, barely held on to a 70-68 lead going into the final frame.

"He passed up one shot in the first half that I was mad about," said Stevens about Green. "That was kind of the gist of our halftime talk. We can't pass up open looks that's what they are giving us. He missed the first one of the third quarter and then really shot it well the rest of the night."

The Celtics were able to find day light as they opened up the fourth quarter with a 12-4 run to finally get a significant lead after a tight 36 minutes. Green scored seven of his final 11 in the that span, and Olynyk helped the cause by scoring 10 of his 14 in the final 12 minutes. It was their first double-digit lead of the game, and they never looked back as Boston ended the quarter with 32 points to Milwaukee's 18, on their way to four wins in five games.

"I'm confident in every shot I put up," said Green. "Whenever it leaves my hand, I am confident that it will go in. I kept shooting, and they started to fall. That is my game, driving to the rim."

Boston will return home to TD Garden to take on the 37-15 Spurs, who lost to the Pistons last night. Rajon Rondo is expected to play, while Bradley might not be back until after the All-Star break. Tip-off is at 7:30 PM.

Game Notes:
The Celtics shot 48 percent for the night to the Bucks' 43, while Boston out-rebounded Milwaukee 43-36. The C's won the battle of least amount of turnovers as they committed only 15 to Milwaukee's 19. Rondo is expected to begin playing back-to-back games once the West Coast road trip starts next week after the break, according to coach Stevens.

Joel Pavón

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