Print and Go Back Boston Celtics [Print without images]

Sunday, December 2, 2012
Doc's thoughts: 'I'm not mad at all'

By Greg Payne

Jeff Hanisch/US PresswirePaul Pierce and Kevin Garnett couldn't prevent the Bucks from rallying back from a 17-point deficit.
While Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was quick to criticize his team and question its level of effort following Wednesday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden, he harbored no ill will after Boston came up just short in a 91-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

The Celtics, playing without Rajon Rondo (suspension), stormed out to a 17-0 advantage, but Milwaukee refused to fold and clawed all the way back, capping things off with a go-ahead 3-pointer from Brandon Jennings with 24 seconds remaining. Paul Pierce and Jason Terry had potential game-tying looks in the closing seconds, but both shots were off the mark.

"No, I'm not mad at all," Rivers told reporters in Milwaukee. "We had a bad rotation leaving Jennings, but that was the effort, again. So, I'm not upset at all over the loss. They made some shots, they fought back. Give them a lot of credit, down 17-0, they could have easily thrown in the towel and they just hung in there. I thought both teams hung in there and they made some big shots, we missed some. It's always going to be a make-miss league."

Boston's 17-0 start turned into a 27-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but that commanding lead wouldn't last long. The Celtics surrendered 36 second-quarter points, as Milwaukee connected on 14 of its 22 shots in the frame and closed within one going into halftime. Though they boasted the slimmest of leads at the break, Boston's chances of putting the Bucks away for good were pretty much gone.

"We had a lot of chances," said Rivers. "It was really the second quarter when we gave up 36 points. Overall, I thought our guys really played hard. They did everything we could do. We missed a lot of good shots down the stretch. It was just a tough loss.

"Our rhythm was great and then we kind of start subbing and our rhythm gets upset. We weren't going to keep the shutout, so you knew at some point they were going to make a run, and they did."

Read on for a few more postgame notes from Rivers.

* Jason Collins received the bulk of the backup center minutes over Chris Wilcox, who still appears to be battling the aftereffects of an illness that caused him to leave early in Wednesday's loss to the Nets. Rivers said there might not be a set pattern for who plays more moving forward.

"Jason gives us size and he's playing well," said Rivers. "He played well [Friday], he helps out. Chris does his things, too, so, I got a feeling it'll be back and forth all year."

* Jason Terry embraced his role as fill-in point guard with Rondo serving the back end of his two-game suspension. Terry registered his first double-double of the season, putting in 15 points to go along with a season-high 11 assists.

"He was great. Like I said yesterday, every coach should coach Jason Terry at least once," Rivers said. "I mean, he's the perfect kid. He doesn't play perfect basketball, but he has a perfect heart. You know, a lot of good things."

* Larry Sanders emerged as a key difference-maker for Milwaukee, as the third-year forward came through with a monster 18-point, 16-rebound double-double, adding five blocked shots for good measure.

"[Sanders] was terrific," Rivers conceded. "I thought he changed the game in a lot of ways with his effort, blocked a lot of shots, switched on guys. And he made a couple shots, too."