Boston Celtics: 2014Game53
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jeff Green scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter while teaming up with rookie Kelly Olynyk (first career double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds) to help Boston race away in the fourth quarter. Green started quietly, but connected on 11-of-22 shots (five of his misses were beyond the 3-point arc) while adding three assists, two steals, a rebound and a block over 44 minutes. Jared Sullinger posted another double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Phil Pressey had a nice night while making a spot start for Rajon Rondo (13 points, 6 assists over 24 minutes). Brandon Knight scored a team-high 22 points for Milwaukee, while Gary Neal added 17 off the bench.
The Celtics were clinging to a two-point lead heading to the final frame, but opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 burst ignited by two Green mid-range jumpers to build a double-digit lead that soon ballooned. Olynyk had a little offensive burst midway through the quarter and Boston's lead went as high as 17 in the final minutes.
Rajon Rondo (rest), Avery Bradley (ankle) and Vitor Faverani (knee) were held out for Boston, while Joel Anthony was a healthy DNP for Boston. ... Ersan Ilyasova, O.J. Mayo, Luke Ridnour and Larry Sanders all were out for Milwaukee. ... The Bucks turned the ball over 21 times for 32 points; Boston gave it away just 16 times for 15 points. ... Boston shot 47.7 percent from the floor (42 of 88), while Milwaukee was at 43.1 percent (31 of 72).
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (19-34) have won four of their last five games -- feasting on some of the basement dwellers of the league -- to build a little confidence before the All-Star break. Boston hosts the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday before taking a full week off from game action at the league's midseason holiday. With Monday's win, the Celtics shuffled within four games of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Rondo, still in the early stages of his return from ACL surgery, was expected to be held out as a precaution on the second night of a back-to-back. Bradley, meanwhile, continues to be plagued by a right ankle injury and coach Brad Stevens told reporters in Milwaukee before the game that Bradley will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
The Celtics will start Phil Pressey and Gerald Wallace in the backcourt, with Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger rounding out the starting five.
According to the Bucks PR staff, Caron Butler (ankle), Ersan Ilyasova (back), O.J. Mayo (illness/conditioning) and Larry Sanders (eye) all are out for Monday's game.
- REPLACING RONDO: Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is not expected to play on the second night of a back-to-back. Boston will have to decide how to compensate (coach Brad Stevens has often inserted rookie Phil Pressey into the starting lineup to keep Jerryd Bayless in his natural reserve role). Given that situation at the point, the Celtics are hoping that Avery Bradley can bounce back on Monday night. Bradley returned from a one-game absence, but his shot was off and he didn't look himself. He sat out the final 20 minutes of Sunday's loss to the Mavericks. Bradley missed five games last month with a sprained right ankle and twisted that ankle again last week.
- GOODBYE, BUCKS: This is the fourth and final meeting of the season for these two teams. Boston has accounted for 22.2 percent of Milwaukee's victory total this season after the Bucks won two November meetings, including a second-half rally to spoil Boston's home-opener. The Celtics won the last meeting in December.
- LOOSE BALLS: Milwaukee big man Larry Sanders is questionable after taking an elbow to the head from Houston's James Harden on Saturday. ... Rookie Nate Wolters has been a thorn in Boston's side this season and is coming off a nice effort against the Rockets (19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists over 39 minutes). ... The Celtics are 3-10 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.
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