Milwaukee - The Celtics were an Eastern Conference best 12-5 in back-to-backs this year, and in their regular-season finale, they proved why they have the most wins in the East since February 2 at 23. The C's improved to 40-42 after a 105-100 victory over the Bucks, for their season-high sixth straight win.
Gigi Datome, who got his first career start in place of Avery Bradley (left quad contusion), scored a season high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Bradley, who stayed back in Boston strictly for precautionary reasons, should be ready to go come Sunday when the C's head to Cleveland for game one of the first-round.
Jonas Jerebko added 16 points to go along with his 6 rebounds and 4 assists, while Kelly Olynyk also finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Jared Sullinger chipped in 11 points for the Celtics, who are now 13-5 in back-to-backs (winning eight straight overall on second nights of back-to-backs).
Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Khris Middleton added 18 points, while O.J. Mayo contributed 16 points in the loss at home, snapping a three-game winning streak that ended their season with a 41-41 record and the sixth seed. Milwaukee will play Chicago come this weekend in a best of seven first-round match-up.
The Celtics hit 7-of-14 three-pointers in the first 24 minutes before going into halftime with a 49-45 lead. By the fourth quarter, both teams went to their second units. Kelly Olynyk scored 10 of his 16 in the final frame. Gigi Datome hit two-crucial shots in the last three-minutes (one 3-ball and a left handed layup) to give Boston a 105-97 lead with 1:28 left in the game. That was all she wrote as the C's will continue their momentum heading into the playoffs.
Fans of both teams have to be excited for what's to come this weekend. For the Bucks to improve from 15 wins (67 losses) last season to 41 under Jason Kidd is quite impressive to say the least, especially since they were suppose to be a lottery team again.
The Celtics on the other hand were 25-57 in Brad Stevens' first year, and to have a 15-win improvement this season with 40 different players and no all-stars is also quite a feat. Both coaches should get serious consideration for coach of the year honors.
"That was our goal," said Jared Sullinger. "To you, it might be overachieving. To us, it's just another day at the ballpark."
On Wednesday night the bench came through once again and without Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas (both inactive due to rest), and scored 57 points. Ball movement was also key as the C's finished with a total of 37 assists on the night.
This team will need to use all the depth they have when facing LeBron and the Cavs on Sunday afternoon in Game One. Tip-off will be at 3:00 EST on ABC in Cleveland.
Celtics shot 49.4-percent for the game to Milwaukee's 46.1-percent. Boston also shot 43.3-percent from the three (13-of-30) to the Bucks 33.3-percent (7-of-21)
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