The Celtics came out strong, quick to loose balls and with a bounce in their step on way to a quick 11-2 lead. The starting lineup of Smart, Bradley, Turner, Sullinger and Bass found themselves in a game quickly, though, due to some perfect three-point shooting by the Bucks’ Brandon Knight, who hit his first three shots from distance.
The quarter saw the two teams play close on way to a 23-all tie after one.
Tayshaun Prince was back on the court again for the Celtics, entering in the waning minutes of the first frame and providing a steady presence early in the second with some timely jumpers.
Jae Crowder was active on defense, providing some impressive resistance against Giannis Antetokoumpo, a man whose stride, wingspan and last name are among the longest in the league.
Although tied up at 44 with 3:20 left in the second, the Celtics endured 9-2 run by the Bucks en route to being down 53-46 at the half, a quickly played 24 minutes with a total of only eight free throws attempted between both teams.
After two quarters, the Bucks were led by Knight with 9 points while the Celtics’ high scorer was Marcus Smart with 6, behind 2-3 from beyond the arc.
Perhaps suffering the effects of two games in as many nights, Boston came out flat in the second half and found themselves down 14 points, 66-52, after only 3:30 had passed. Recovering eventually, though, the C’s were able to shave two points off their halftime deficit, entering the fourth down 80-75.
The last quarter saw grit and determination from the Celtics that was uncommon late in games earlier in the season. Behind toughness of Crowder and Sullinger, Boston played a determined contest, flirting with tying or taking a lead with just a few minutes left. After a goal-tending call on the Bucks on a drive by Crowder with only 28.7 seconds left, the Celtics closed within 94-93. However, on the next offensive possession, Brandon Knight nailed a long step-back 2-point jumper over Bass to extend Milwaukee's lead to 3 with 6.7 seconds remaining.
Boston stumbled around on their final possession before getting a long jumper attempt from Crowder that was offline and never got another shot off on their way to eventually falling to the Bucks by the final score of 96-93.
The Celtics' next game is Wednesday in Boston against the East's best team, the Atlanta Hawks.
Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
@Chris Quimby Chris Quimby 2/07/2015 11:34:00 PM Tweet Edit