Rapid Reaction: Celtics 108, Bucks 100
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jordan Crawford scored a team-high 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting (4-of-7 beyond the 3-point arc) as Boston put six players in double figures, including all five starters. Jeff Green scored 18 points, while Brandon Bass (16 points, 9 rebounds) and Jared Sullinger (12 points, 8 rebounds) aided Boston's offensive outburst. Courtney Lee, back after missing two games with a sore left knee, scored 11 points in 16 minutes off the bench. OJ Mayo scored a team-high 19 points for Milwaukee.
The Celtics were clinging to a four-point, fourth-quarter lead after Giannis Antetokounmpo finished an alley-oop with 11 ½ minutes to play. Crawford scored the game's next five points (following a 3-pointer with a short fadeaway). Lee accounted for Boston's next seven points before Crawford hit another 3-pointer to put the Celtics out front 84-71 with 8:21 to play. The Lee/Crawford-sparked outburst saw Boston score 15 points in little more than three minutes while building a 13-point lead. But Milwaukee wouldn't go quietly ...
FENDING 'EM OFF AT THE FINISH
The Bucks made it a one-possession game twice in the final five minutes, including with only 70 seconds to play. Milwaukee swarmed Boston ball-handlers at the other end and Sullinger got trapped on the baseline as the shot clock wound down. Unfazed, he dribbled toward the free-throw line and splashed a little, clock-beating step-back jumper for a 101-96 lead with 45 seconds to go.
YOU'LL SEE THESE ON SPORTSCENTER
The Celtics had two Top 10 nominees during the first half of Tuesday's game. First, Avery Bradley channeled Larry Bird when he corralled an offensive rebound drifting out of bounds and made an arcing shot from behind the backboard. Later, Gerald Wallace turned back the clock while storming the lane and delivering a vicious one-handed jam that left Boston's bench spilling all over itself in celebration.
Boston shot 49.4 percent overall (38-of-77) and 45.8 percent beyond the 3-point arc (11-of-24). ... Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks were healthy DNPs. ... Kelly Olynyk missed his sixth straight game due to a sprained right ankle. ... Caron Butler did not play for Milwaukee because of a sore left knee.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics improved to 8-12 and sit atop the Atlantic Division standings. Boston gets two days off before hosting the Denver Nuggets on Friday (a rare national TV game on ESPN). It's only the third two-day break since the start of the season for Boston. The Celtics are back on the road for a two-game swing through New York, visiting the Knicks on Sunday before a battle with the Paul Pierce-less Nets on Tuesday. A visit from old friend Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers looms next Wednesday.
Play Podcast The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan discusses the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the performances of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and Boston's best team in history.
Play Podcast The ESPN Boston High School football crew discusses Week 8 of the Massachusetts HS football season.