Boston Celtics 88 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson, PF 13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -13Henson was a brutal and key cog in Milwaukee’s awful 17-0 deficit to start the game. He had a bad turnover, a worse jump shot and what seemed like little clue what he was doing. But he came back in and played better in the second half when given another opportunity. He looked stronger on the glass and made a couple of his open jumpers. He’s still very obviously a work in progress, even in games.
Monta Ellis, PG 40 MIN | 6-20 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 17 PTS | +1Another tough shooting nice for Ellis, but it was his not shooting that was most impressive late. First he had a tough drive with about a minute left and instead of forcing something difficult up near the rim, he left off a soft pass for Larry Sanders who promptly finished. Then he came off a screen, got the ball and floated through the paint in the air appearing ready to launch a difficult, off balance shot. But he passed to an open Daniels who swung it to a more dangerous open Jennings. Jennings hit the three and the Bucks won. Kudos go to Ellis for making that happen.
Brandon Jennings, PG 40 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -8It’s not often that Jennings has a quiet night, but he certainly didn’t put his stamp on this game until his huge three late. Once upon a time it would have been very difficult to imagine Jennings hitting a big shot late after not being real involved for most of the game. Now? He’s done it twice this season. That’s pretty cool.
Marquis Daniels, SG 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | -12Daniels got the start, as Skiles looked to change things up. With mike Dunleavy unavailable, Skiles noted he had no other option if he wanted to get a different look at the small forward spot.Daniels played tough defense all night on Paul Pierce all game and gave the Bucks god versatility against the Pierce/Terry pick and roll late. He offers preciously little on the other end, but he knows his limitations very well and found Jennings on the three that put Milwaukee ahead for good. On any given night he can be a contributor defensively, but an ideal world is one where Daniels isn’t playing more than 15 minutes.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF 14 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +16Not bad for his first game back. Mbah a Moute made some open jumpers and most importantly ended up doing a pretty good job defending Paul Pierce on a HUGE possession for the Celtics with 37 seconds to get late. He made Pierce lose control, gather and then have to take a difficult fadeaway that he missed. In his first game back, to have to jump into that situation off the bench and handle it that well? That’s impressive.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF 34 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | +16He’s alive! When I ranted and raved about Ilyasova’s minutes I didn’t once say he shouldn’t be playing at all. I wrote that if he isn’t playing well, he shouldn’t be playing and that it’s not Skiles responsibility to pick him up. Well Ilyasova apparently found a way to pick himself up, despite the night off on Friday. His shooting was an important part of Milwaukee’s come back in the first half and he was competent enough late. He still was fading and playing a little soft at the rim late, which is disappointing.
Larry Sanders, C 33 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 16 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | +18Scott Skiles wanted to shake up his starting lineup Saturday night. The Bucks had lost five of six and he felt like it was time to do something different. On the heels of a triple double in Minnesota, Sanders was given an opportunity to start. He declined and told his coach he was more comfortable coming off the bench. Comfortable has been a good way to describe Sanders for the majority of this season and it was a god way to describe him Saturday. He grabbed rebounds, blocked shots, finished around the rim and did it all within himself. Nothing looked difficult for him, save a few bumbled offensive efforts. Comfort is a good thing.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Boston’s defense late was just so, SO good. They so seamlessly switch and rotate and cover any gaps. KG gets a ton of credit and he deserves it. Everyone follows his instructions with great energy because they know he knows where to send them and that he has their back. So impressive.Also impressive? The Bucks doing juuuuuust enough offensively to get a win. Very good play late to hang with a tough Boston team.
  2. Going down 17-0 in the first quarter is probably not a strategy the Bucks should execute on every game, but they recovered from it against Boston. The advantage of a talented bench is that backups can come in with energy and outplay other team’s reserves, making almost no lead too large to take the Bucks out of the game.
  3. Jennings walked out of the showers into the locker room after the game and barked loud enough for everyone to hear: “Larry’s gonna f*ck around and get player of the week.”Quite a week for Larry, a guy whose hijinks seem to entertain and energize his teammates.