Sports

Jason Terry way off target again for Celtics

After another tough shooting night, Jason Terry took full responsibility for the Celtics’ overtime loss to the Bucks.

Terry’s December slump continues as he shot 1 for 15 and scored just 4 points in the 99-94 defeat. Terry had numerous chances to help the Celtics pad their lead in the second half, only to miss open shots. He missed 8 of 9 3-pointers with no rebounds and one assist in nearly 32 minutes.

Terry is shooting 34.5 percent from the field (37 for 107) this month and 33 percent from the 3-point line.

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“I know for me, this was a tough night,” he said. “Close ballgame, the team needs you and you just couldn’t get it done. I’ll be back in [the gym] tomorrow working on what I need to do to get it right. Shooters shoot and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

Terry has been shuttled between the starting lineup and the bench but he said that has not affected his performance.

“Definitely after the third shot, I was like, ‘What’s going on out here?’ ” he said. “I had a good look in overtime and that’s bread and butter. My jump shot didn’t go in. If there was 10 more minutes left in the game, I’m thinking I’m going 5 for 5. I’m not going to stop shooting. But I told the guys this one’s on me.”

Green smacked down

Jeff Green left the game with 18.5 seconds left in overtime after taking an elbow to the left side of the face from Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova. Green sustained a bruised cheekbone and some chipped teeth but left the arena under his own power. It is uncertain if he will practice with the team Sunday.

Lee not sitting back

It’s been an interesting first season in Boston for Courtney Lee, who’s dealing with being sent to the bench for the third time in 25 games. Lee is expected to stay a reserve when Avery Bradley returns from his shoulder surgery next month, and he’s trying to get comfortable in his ever-changing roles.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he expects Lee to provide energy and defensive spark off the bench after the experiment as the starting scoring guard faltered.

“You just take it day-by-day, Coach is going to make that decision and it’s a decision based on the team,” said Lee, who scored 11 points in 29 minutes Friday night. “He met with me before [Wednesday’s game with Cleveland] and said he was going to put [Terry] back in the [starting] lineup and get him going again. He told me it wasn’t nothing I was doing, I was playing great when I was in there. It was for the team and ultimately the goal is to win as many games as possible and I’m all about that.”

Lee entered this season as a 38.5 percent 3-point shooter for his career but has converted just 11 of 39 this season. Surprisingly, he is shooting 53.8 percent on his 2-point shots, a testament to his bizarre season. He has flourished off the bench in allowing his defense to dictate his offense, but has slipped as a perimeter threat.

“It’s tough [to get into the flow of the game off the bench], you’re sitting over there and you’re watching the game go [one way], and then as soon as you get in, it’s first of all, I’ve got to make sure I can get myself loose quick,” he said. “So that’s my first focus. So once you start sweating and get going, it becomes easy because you start getting more involved in the game, especially when Doc puts the ball in my hand to be the point guard.”

Bradley will take over the reserve point guard duties once he returns and he practiced Monday with the club for the first time in seven months. Lee was impressed.

“He was good, the day we were in practice I was on the green team and we were going back and forth, me and [Terry],” Lee said. “And when you put [Bradley and me] on the white [team], that defensive ball pressure, it was just crazy.’’

Surging Sanders

Milwaukee big man Larry Sanders, who has been a major nemesis for the Celtics this season, pulled down a game-high 20 rebounds in the Bucks’ win. In the four games against the Celtics, he averaged 13.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks.

A former first-round pick, Sanders has emerged as a defensive player of the year candidate because of his length and activity. He brought the Bucks back from a late deficit to beat the Celtics, 91-88, Dec. 1.

“Well we should probably stop shooting when he’s right there,” Rivers joked. “That will probably help because he only blocks your shot. It’s funny, he does it to everybody. I honestly told my son Austin [of the New Orleans Hornets], I said ‘Austin, be careful with Sanders, you’ll get a step deep he’ll get you.’ I think his first two shots [Sanders] blocked so nothing changes. No one listens [to me].

“But he’s good, just a terrific basketball player. I love watching him play. I love his energy. He can score some. But he’s just one of those guys you put on the floor and usually something good is going to happen for your team.”

Missing pieces

Chris Wilcox missed his second consecutive game with an injured right thumb, while Leandro Barbosa was away because of a personal matter. Their status for the Christmas Day game against the Brooklyn Nets is unknown . . . After going 1 for 14 in Wednesday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Bucks shooting guard Monta Ellis went 9 for 21 and had 27 points Friday night . . . Rajon Rondo drew his third technical foul of the season for trash talking with Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

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