Celtics face Bucks in grand finale of the season

Milwaukee Bucks (31-34)  at  Boston Celtics (38-27)
Wednesday, April 26
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #66,  Home Game #33
TV:  CSN-NE, FSN-WI, LP 752(MIL)/753(BOS)
Radio:  WEEI, WTMJ
TD Garden
Referees:   Scott Foster, Matt Boland, James Williams

This is the 3rd and final game between these two teams.  It is also the final game of the season for both teams.  The Celtics lead the series 2-0 so far.   But the Bucks always seem to get up for playing the Celtics so it may not be a walk in the park in this one.  However, the Sixers sat their top players and still beat them last night so it shouldn't be a bar fight either. 

The Bucks have slipped to the 9th spot and are are 3 back of the 8th spot with no hope of moving up so they are playing just for pride and ping pong balls.  The Bucks are playing in the second of back to back games having played Philadelphia last night. 

As far as who is going to play in this game, Doc has said that he plans to play everyone who is healthy.    I've put KG and Rondo into the starting lineup, but I'm not sure if they will be starting or if Doc will opt to rest their injuries another game. Word out of the shoot around is that only Ray and Stiemsma did not participate and everyone else is expected to play.    For the Bucks, I'm going with the lineup that they started against the Sixers last night. 

The Celtics should be able to win this game.   Even though this game means nothing to the Bucks,  they don't like the Celtics and so I can see them working hard to try to beat them just to play spoiler.  The Celtics still have a chance at home court and so I'm hoping they play just as hard and get the win.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Brandon Jennings

Shooting Guard

Avery Bradley vs Shaun Livingston

Small Forward

Paul Pierce vs Tobias Harris

Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Jon Leuer 


Kevin Garnett vs Ekpe Udoh

Celtics Reserves

Mickael Pietrus
JaJuan Johnson
E'Twaun Moore
Sasha Pavlovic
Greg Stiemsma
Keyon Dooling
Marquis Daniels
Ryan Hollins
Sean Williams

Ray Allen (ankle) day to day
Kevin Garnett (hip flexor) day to day
Mickael Pietrus (knee) day to day
Rajon Rondo (back) day to day
Greg Stiemsma (feet) day to day

Bucks Bench
Larry Sanders
Benu Udrih
Mike Dunleavy
Jon Brockman
Drew Gooden

Luc Mbah a Moute  (knee) doubtful
Carlos Delfino (groin) out
Kwame Brown (pectoral) out
Ersan Ilyasova (knee) doubtful
Monta Ellis (hand)  out

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Brandon Jennings
Jennings is a good young PG who is working to make a name for himself in the league.  Jennings has talked trash in every game against the Celtics.   You might even remember him shouting trash at KG as he was heading to the locker room after the game in his rookie year.  Doc has said that Rondo is expected to play but we may see Avery Bradley at the point again if Rondo needs an extra day of rest. 

Even if the Celtics regular starters play, I don't expect them to play big minutes.  The Celtics reserves are going to need to come up with big games once again if the Celtics want to win this. 

Keys to the Game
STAY HEALTHY -  From what he has said, Doc will be playing everyone who is healthy in this game.  Only Greg Stiemsma and Ray Allen missed the shoot around and are out.  The others may or may not play depending on Doc's mood and their health at game time.  The first and most important key is for everyone to stay healthy!!!  NO INJURIES!   

Defense -   Defense is key for this game and especially for the playoffs.  They need to get their team defense tuned up in this game to get the win and to prepare for the playoffs. 

Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards to prevent the Bucks from getting second chance points.    Rebounding is all about effort and when the Celtics put out the effort on the boards that effort seems to carry over into all the other areas of their game.  Failure to rebound usually results in a failure to win. 

Work the Offense
- It took the Celtics over 6 minutes to score against the Heat's pitiful offering in their last game.  They need to work the offense and make the extra pass to find the open man.  If the jumpers aren't falling, they need to drive to the hoop.  Good things happen when you get into the paint.  They have to be patient and run the offense and not just dribble out the clock and take rushed shots.   

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds, in pushing the tempo, and in going to the hoop.  The more aggressive team will usually get the benefit of the calls and that's half the battle. 

Official Report
Scott Foster
A veteran official of 17 NBA seasons, Scott Foster has worked 1,074 regular season and 80 playoff games, including seven Finals games during his career. He was a
member of the crew that officiated the 1996 Europe Tour in Berlin, Germany and Seville, Spain. In addition to his NBA experience, Foster has two years of CBA officiating experience, two years of collegiate officiating experience and six years of high school officiating experience in Maryland. Prior to becoming an official, Foster modeled for department store mannequin mold makers. He came into the public eye as the best friend of former referee Tim Donaghy. In his book, Donaghy describes Foster as a very honest and good guy who knew nothing of his gambling. However, recently Donaghy described Foster as a company man who will do what is asked of him to keep his seniority among refs. Foster was also part of the 2010 Finals game 7 officiating crew that called the final quarter completely different than the first 3 quarters and very one sided. The Celtics are 2-2 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Foster on the court. In the OT win over the Knicks, NY shot 26 free throws to 22 for the Celtics. In the first loss, at New Orleans, the Celtics shot 18 free throws to 25 for the Hornets. The second loss, at Denver, was horribly officiated. At the end of 3 quarters, the Nuggets had 22 free throws to 5 for the Celtics. They ignored fouls against the Celtics all game but at the same time, called them for ticky tack and non-existent fouls. For the game, the Nuggets shot 31 free throws to 17 for the Celtics. The 4th game was against Miami and was called evenly with the Celtics shooting 25 free throws to 27 for the Heat. The Bucks are 2-1 this season and also 4-6 with Foster in their last 10 games. His home W/L record this season is 28-21. Foster as a lead ref makes me nervous.

Matt Boland
Entering his ninth season as an NBA official, Matt Boland has worked 490 regular season games. Prior to joining the NBA, he spent seven years officiating in the CBA, including the 1999, 2000 and 2001 CBA Finals. He also officiated for five years in the WNBA and worked the 2002 and 2003 WNBA Finals, as well as two years in the NBA Development League, working the 2003 D-League Finals. Boland also has five years of USBL officiating experience, including the 1997 USBL Finals. Boland officiated at the collegiate level for four years. He also has high school officiating experience in his home state of Connecticut and worked two State Finals games in 1997 and 1998. Boland’s athletic accomplishments include being a member of PGA where he played in several PGA tour events and still currently holds his PGA card. He spent time working as a teaching pro before joining the NBA staff. He also was a member of the 1986 New England Prep Champions Wilbraham Monson Academy Basketball team. Boland, along with Scott Foster, was questioned by the FBI in regard to the Tim Donaghy case after it was found that Donaghy often phoned Boland on game days. The FBI cleared both Boland and Foster of involvement in that betting scandal. I feel a bit apprehensive with both Foster and Boland calling the same game with home court on the line. I wonder which team David Stern wants to have home court. The Celtics are 3-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Boland. All 4 games called by Boland this season were called fairly even. The Bucks are 2-2 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Boland. His home W/L record is 28-23.

James Williams
Williams enters his second NBA season having officiated 61 games and officiated six NBA regular season games in 2009-10 as a non-staff official. Williams owns 10 years of experience in the collegiate ranks, having officiated for the NCAA from 2001-2010. He also officiated two seasons in the WNBA, and has worked two NBA D-League Finals as well as the 2009-10 NBA D-League All-Star Game. He was called up from the D-League last season. The Celtics are 2-1 this season and 4-2 all time with Williams as an official. The loss was to Phoenix who shot 16 free throws to 9 for the Celtics. One win was vs the Wizards where both teams shot 23 free throws the other win was vs Utah where the Celtics shot21 free throws to 21 for the Jazz and the game was well officiated. The Bucks are 1-1 this season and 2-2 all time with Williams. His home W/L record is 26-19.


Home Court and Who's Playing
This is the final game of the season and the crowd should be loud and give the home team a boost.  Hopefully the refs will call a fair game as well.  Doc has said that the guys will play in this one but possibly reduced minutes.  Hopefully they can get it done and the bench comes up big once again.