Starters rewarded with rest

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Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The starters were spectators for every second of the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 87-56 win over the Bucks.

The Celtics’ starters reaped the rewards of doing their work early, throwing the Bucks into a double-digit ditch in the first quarter and never letting them climb out. The result was an 87-56 win in which none of the starters touched the floor in the fourth quarter.

Instead, they were spectators, spending garbage time in their warmups laughing at Gino footage and pushing the second unit to close the game as strong as they had started it.

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Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Paul Pierce finished with 14 points.


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The Bucks mustered just 9 points in the first quarter — the lowest of any quarter the’ve played this season — and the futility carried through the rest of the night. They finished shooting 31.4 percent, admittedly humiliated in the words of their coach Scott Skiles. For the Celtics, coach Doc Rivers said, its simple logic that it starts with the first five, especially with new additions still getting a grasp of the system.

“When they do, we’re a better team, obviously,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “That’s what we’re banking on right now until we get right. When they start out slow it puts us in a huge hole, because now you’re dependent on a second unit that hasn’t been together very long.”

The residual benefit was that the second unit got extra reps thanks to the blowout. Aside from Earl Barron snapping for 10 points in 10 minutes, the bench held the Bucks to 3 of 11 shooting.

“It’s good for us and it’s actually good for the other guys as much as it’s good for the starters,” Rivers said. “The other guys get to play stress-free which is nice.”

The defensive chemistry is something that will take time for the new players to develop. Glen Davis’ return after missing four games with a strained left patella tendon helped tonight, giving them an experienced player in the rotation.

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“It’s coming along well,” said Jeff Green. “We’ve got Big Baby back now. I think our pieces are slowly falling into place. We didn’t even know anything about a record. We were just trying to continue with the pressure and we did. We just played defense.”

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