FINAL: Celtics 98, Bucks 89: It wasn’t pretty, but the Celtics hang on for a win here. They force 20 Milwaukee turnovers while holding Brandon Jennings to 7-of-19 shooting. Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 11 points, 13 assists, 9 rebounds, and 5 steals. Kevin Garnett had 25 points and 9 rebounds for Boston.
1:03 4th quarter, Celtics 96-89: Celtics had a couple of chances to end it, but Kevin Garnett’s last jumper was long. Timeout, Bucks, as they try to mount a rally.
3:16 4th quarter, Celtics 91-86: Rajon Rondo has all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, including a jumper on that last play that has the Celtics up 5.
6:08, 4th quarter: Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins check back in. It’ll be the starters the rest of the way for the Celtics.
Perkins and Rasheed Wallace have both struggled against Bogut tonight. Perkins is better suited to match up with The Awesome Blossom down low, but Wallace can draw Bogut away from the basket and tire him out on defense.
9:37 4th quarter, Celtics 78-73: The Celtics have caught a burst of momentum. Rajon Rondo’s first hoop of the game came on a spin-o-rama layup, and Rasheed Wallace hit a three on the next possession to put Boston up 5.
END 3d quarter, Tied at 71: Carlos Delfino just curled around a screen and dropped one off the backboard to even the score after three quarters. Andrew Bogut is killing the Celtics with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Strange night for Rajon Rondo. He has 10 assists, 8 rebounds, and no points. At +9, he has the best plus/minus of any Celtic.
3:23 3d quarter, Celtics 69-60: Strange sequence there, but Luke Ridnour walks back to the bench holding his left elbow. Ridnour was down on the floor for about 90 seconds before anyone on the court even noticed him.
5:41 3d quarter, Celtics 64-56: The good news is the Celtics are on a bit of a run. The bad news is that Kevin Garnett has been grabbing at his left hamstring the last few times the floor. He came down awkwardly on it a minute ago, and he’s not right. He’s still in the game, but he looks to be in some pain.
7:41 3d quarter, Celtics 59-56: Andrew Bogut is having a very strong game with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Bucks have 11 offensive rebounds compared to just one for the Celtics.
10:35 3d quarter, Celtics 53-48: Rajon Rondo now has 7 assists, but still no points.
Halftime, Celtics 49-48: Something about playing at home has made the Celtics uneasy over the past month. If you asked Doc Rivers before the game whether he’d take the Celtics shooting 58 percent as a team and holding Brandon Jennings to 3-of-11 shooting in the first half, he’d happily accept. And yet despite that, the Celtics are only up by 1.
One problem area: The Bucks have eight offensive rebounds. The Celtics need to fix that in the second half.
4:17 2d quarter, Bucks 39-37: Paul Pierce just picked up his third personal foul. He could have drawn the defensive foul, but he chose to keep going after getting his man in the air and ended up charging right into another Bucks defender.
4:55 2d quarter, Tied at 37: Eddie House gets a very friendly roll on a 3-pointer. Ball hung up on the rim for a second or two before dropping.
7:52 2d quarter, Tied at 31: Brandon Jennings is 2-of-8 for 5 points, but he’s eliciting plenty of praise from the fans here. They expect him to be good. The Celtics will take 2 of 8 from Jennings — the rest of the Bucks are shooting over 50 percent.
END first quarter, Bucks 27-26: A 3-point play by Brandon Jennings, his only hoop of the game, has the Bucks up by 1 after one. Jennings was isolated on Tony Allen, which was problematic enough until Allen ran into a pick and Brian Scalabrine had to guard Jennings.
2:28 first quarter, Celtics 23-20: Tony Allen checks into the game, along with Rasheed Wallace and Brian Scalabrine. True second unit out there, along with Ray Allen.
3:37 first quarter, Celtics 22-18: Quite a start for Paul Pierce, who has 9 points and is 4 of 6 from the floor. He’s getting to the basket, which is where he’s always at his best. Shifty.
6:42 1st quarter, Celtics 11-9: Brandon Jennings is 0 for 3.
9:20 1st quarter, Celtics 6-4: Kevin Garnett is trying to take it to Ersan Ilyasova early. Rajon Rondo’s already thrown two alley-oops KG’s way.
Pregame: Guy behind me said, during introductions, “Oh they’re playing the Bucks.” Nevertheless there were a few cheers for Brandon Jennings.
Also it’s the 121st consecutive home sellout, which the fans don’t seem too jazzed about but is pretty impressive considering the awful economy and the empty seats in just about every other arena anywhere in every other sport.