It wasn’t easy, but the Celtics gutted out a 105-102 victory in overtime over the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night.
First things first, congratulations to Paul Pierce for reaching the 20,000 point plateau. He becomes the 36th player to do so, and joins a trio of current Celtics (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal) in the club. And he did it in style, taking over in OT and hitting some clutch free throws to finish with 28 points and get the victory.
Let’s break this one down.
Digging In: It wasn’t apparent all the time, but the Celtics dug in on the defensive end when they had to and came back from a deficit late in the fourth quarter to take the lead.
When they needed stops, the Celtics produced in OT and in the fourth quarter. Perhaps more importantly, they kept their cool (minus one KG moment) in overtime despite some adversity and pulled out the victory. That includes overcoming some questionable officiating, which had both sides flummoxed in this one.
Keep on keeping on: How about the play of Glen Davis? Another strong night with 14 points for Big Baby, and now he has scored in double digits in each game this season. The Celtics bench has been underwhelming in the first few games, but Davis has been the one constant. And despite fouling out, he still produced when necessary.
And what else can be said about Rajon Rondo? Another 15 assist night for the C’s point guard, and an efficient 7-10 performance from the floor. He is clearly on a roll.
Fourth Quarter’s End: The Celtics had a six point lead with 80 seconds remaining and let it slip away. The Bucks got easy shots (also got a few easy looks in OT) and closed the gap quickly, while the Celtics fumbled the lead away.
This team still has a problem at the end of quarters, and it is a bad habit. Doc Rivers will have to make sure his team executes at the end of games better.
The Glass/The Paint: It’s funny that the biggest play of the game came on an offensive rebound—Jermaine O’Neals tip in during OT—because the Bucks dominated on the offensive glass all night. Andrew Bogut was basically playing with one arm and still controlled in the paint. In fact, the Bucks had 42 points in the paint and a number of easy layups all night.
The Celtics did come up with some big rebounds from unlikely suspects such as Ray Allen and Rondo, and every starter had at least five boards, but it wasn’t pretty at times.
The Bench: I already said this, but outside of Glen Davis this bench has not contributed. The C’s got a total of five points from their other bench players, and the starters had to play big minutes in the second night of a back-to-back. What happened to the depth that we all thought the Celtics had this year? It certainly doesn’t help that Shaq looks like he is gone for a few weeks.