It was a 'great defense will lead to great offense' type of night, as the Celtics kept the Bucks on their heels throughout the second half, and the bench provided enough scoring in the win.
The Celtics got a game-high 20 points from Isaiah Thomas and forced 17 turnovers to beat Milwaukee, 99-83, and improve to 3-3 with a second straight win.
The C's buckled down defensively in the third quarter, stealing and blocking their way to an 18-2 run to finish the quarter with a 76-59 lead. David Lee (13 points), Evan Turner (13 points), Jae Crowder (12 points), Jared Sullinger (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Kelly Olynyk (11 points) also reached double figures.
Greg Monroe collected a team-high 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks, but Milwaukee's offense was no match for the Celtics' defense and bench production. The Celtics reserves combined for 48 points. In a game where Isaiah Thomas was in the starting lineup, it was an impressive outing for the C's.
Turner came up big for the Celtics in the second half, as he helped open the gap on both ends of the floor. He amassed six assists, five rebounds and four steals to go along with his 13 points, finishing with a team-best plus-32 rating. He anchored a 50-point effort from the bench.
"He can do so many things," coach Stevens said about Turner. "A lot of people focus on the things people can't do; he can do a lot of things. He does a lot of things well." (CSNNE.com)The Celtics also collected 11 steals against the Bucks. Crowder, the league's leader in steals, joined Turner with four steals against the Bucks, while Thomas, Sullinger and R.J. Hunter each added one. But it wasn't just the steals that made the difference; it was the way the Celtics went about getting them -- trapping the Bucks with double teams and forcing the Bucks to make silly turnovers throughout the second half.
Rookie R.J. Hunter's career-high seven points and seven rebounds was a great showing for the young stud. Hunter was a plus-19 rating in 19 minutes at Milwaukee.
The Celtics will head straight to the airport in after defeating the Bucks, they're back home at TD Garden tomorrow night against the Indiana Pacers.
Another injury in the backcourt. With Marcus Smart already nursing an injured left toe that kept him out another night, Avery Bradley went down with a lower left leg bruise. Turner started the second half in his place. Both Smart and Bradley's status for Wednesday's game against Indiana remains in doubt.