Pierce lifted late, but returns in the clutch

BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce didn't let his frustration take away
from his game when it mattered.

Pierce had a brief argument with Boston coach Doc Rivers when he
was lifted from the game, but returned and made a key 3-pointer
that helped the Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-100 on
Wednesday night.

Pierce, who led Boston with 23 points, was taken out with just
over 4½ minutes to play and the Celtics holding a 92-91 lead. The
star forward appeared agitated when Jiri Welsch came in for him.
Rivers and Pierce briefly yelled at each other.

After a chat in the huddle between Pierce and Rivers during a
timeout, Pierce returned and hit his 3-pointer on Boston's first
possession, giving the Celtics a 97-93 lead with 2:40 to go.

Rivers said he was upset because he didn't think Pierce was
heading out quickly enough on the fast-break chances.

"There really was no issue, except for I wanted everybody to
run the floor," Rivers said. "I didn't think he was running the
floor on the last couple of possessions.

"I don't mind him being upset at all. The game's a fiery game,
and its an emotional game. I made my point and I put him back in
the game, and he made a big shot for me."

When Pierce walked back out onto the court, veteran teammate
Gary Payton spoke to him briefly -- before setting him up for his
3-pointer from the right wing.

"Paul is a competitor," Payton said. "I emphasized to him,
`We don't need that. We need wins'. ... We've got a lot of young
kids. They've been playing so many years and nobody can say
anything to them. They don't understand sometimes you've got to
listen to what the coach says."

Pierce left quickly and didn't speak to the media after the

Mark Blount had 16 points and 16 rebounds for Boston.

Michael Redd scored 23 points for Milwaukee, which fell to 0-7
on the road -- its worst stretch since losing 16 straight during the
1976-77 season.

The Bucks cut it to 99-98 on Maurice Williams' basket with 34.5
seconds left, but Payton hit the second of two free throws.

Williams was called for an offensive foul as his shot went in
and would've tied it with 3.6 seconds left. Pierce hit the first of
two free throws with 2.3 seconds to play before Keith Van Horn had
a layup with 0.9 seconds left. But Boston inbounded the ball and
time expired.

The Bucks thought Van Horn was fouled as he drove to the basket,
and they heard the Celtics bench yelling to foul before the shot.

"I saw the replay and it was a foul," Milwaukee coach Terry
Porter said. "You can go ask (the referees) if they swallowed the
whistle or not. (The Celtics) were instructed to foul the 3-point
shooter, and (Ricky) Davis made the mistake of fouling a man going
to the basket."

Milwaukee's players were stunned that a foul wasn't called.

"Wow! Just wow," Williams said. "Their bench is screaming,
`Foul! Foul!' as Keith is going to the basket. That was tough."

The Bucks tied it at 90 on Redd's jumper with 6½ minutes to play
before Boston took the lead for good on Raef LaFrentz's putback.

Game notes
The Celtics honored Payton for becoming the 29th player in
NBA history to reach 20,000 points on Nov. 10 by giving him the
game ball before Tuesday night's contest. ... The Bucks play three
of their next four games at the Bradley Center. ... Boston placed
guard Delonte West on the injured list with a broken right ring
finger and activated forward Tom Gugliotta. Rivers said after the
game that West may be lost for six weeks or longer. ... The Bucks
were outscored 22-2 on fast-break points.


ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • adidas Youth Milwaukee Bucks climalite Red Performance T-ShirtShop

  • adidas Originals Men's Boston Celtics Larry Bird #33 Kelly Green Throwback Swingman JerseyPrice: $110.00 Shop

NBA News