Down 18 points with just over 8 minutes to go, the Celtics managed to tie the game late but made a crucial foul to send Milwaukee to the line and hand them the 112-111 victory. Greg Monroe was dominant for the Bucks, finishing with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder led the Celtics with 18 each.
The C's looked to establish their pace right out of the gates, pushing the ball in transition to find some easy buckets early. Avery Bradley continued his nearly unfathomable stretch of making shots in the opening minutes. He scored 9 points in less than six minutes of action in the first quarter on 4-5 shooting. An 8-2 run for the Bucks ended the quarter with Boston leading 30-26.
Sloppy play continued for the Celtics in the 2nd quarter allowing Milwaukee back into the game. Jonas Jerebko provided a spark off the bench, connecting on his first 3 attempts and hitting 2 from behind the arc. Boston finished the half with 10 turnovers and a -5 rebound differential but still took a 54-53 lead into the half behind Bradley's 12 points and Jae Crowder's 10
The Bucks capitalized on more turnovers in the 3rd and took a 67-61 lead half way through the quarter along with some aggressive play by Jabari Parker. Greg Monroe really made his presence felt underneath, showing an array of post moves followed by a pass off the double team to a wide open Michael Carter-Williams down the lane, forcing Brad Stevens to call a timeout. It didn't help, as the Celtics committed 8 more turnovers and played very poor defense in the quarter which led to a 93-74 deficit heading into the final frame.
It took another 5 minutes or so but the Celtics finally started to turn it up defensively which inspired a 12-3 run to get the Celtics in striking distance, down 104-95 with 4:40 to go. Isaiah Thomas connected on a HUGE 3-point play with 2:55 left to maked it 106-102. Jae Crowder buried a 3 with 23 seconds left to tie the game at 109-109, but the player of the game Greg Monroe came up clutch with a layup to give the Bucks the 2 point lead with just one second remaining. Brad Stevens, the ATO savant, drew up an attempted alley oop to Kelly Olynyk who was fouled by Jerryd Bayless. Olynyk connected on the biggest free throws of his career. But Avery Bradley returned the favor on the other end and fouled Kris Middleton who buried his first and intentionally missed his second. The Celtics were out of timeouts and a Crowder desperation heave fell short.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tom Lynn
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