Celtics-Bucks review: Jennings a non-factor

Celtics-Bucks review: Jennings a non-factor
November 11, 2012, 5:27 am
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BOSTON There was a conscious effort on the part of the Boston Celtics to not allow Brandon Jennings to get into a flow.

Mission accomplished.

Keeping Jennings a relative non-factor played a prominent role in Boston edging the Milwaukee Bucks, 96-92.

Jennings, who had 21 points and 13 assists in Milwaukee's win in Boston last week, was limited to just four points on 1-for-11 shooting Saturday night with him racking up almost as many fouls committed (four) as assists.

"I would like to limit him all game," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "It's hard to do that, because he has the ball all game."

But the C's did a better job of actually getting the ball out of his hands and into the hands of Monta Ellis.

While Ellis is the superior scorer, he doesn't have the kind of court vision that Jennings possesses.

Because of that, he's more inclined to look for his own shot rather than set up his teammates for possible scores which was what Jennings did repeatedly when Milwaukee defeated Boston last week.

In addition to limiting the effectiveness of Jennings, there were other factors that the Celtics had to weigh leading up to Saturday's win. Here are some keys to the game identified prior to tip-off, and how they actually played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The Bucks have made a point of getting out in transition as often as they can, which poses a legitimate threat to the Celtics. Milwaukee ranks second in the league with 18.8 fast break points per game while the Celtics defense is giving up 17.2 fast break points per game that ranks 28th in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW: Boston showed some signs of improvement in terms of doing a better job of limiting Milwaukee's fast-break scoring to 15 points. But the Bucks more than made up for that with a strong night of scoring in the paint (48 points) compared to just 32 points in the paint by Boston.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs. Tobias Harris: You can bet Pierce and the C's haven't forgotten Harris' 18-point breakout game in the season opener last week. "He's another kid, because of my son Austin Rivers, a first-round of the New Orleans Hornets in June, I got a chance to see him," Rivers said. "I've watched him in AAU basketball for several years. He can play. "He's a matchup problem for 3s small forwards because of his size and his quickness. You see him a ton, but you don't see him in that way. He's pretty good."

WHAT WE SAW: No surprise here. Pierce easily won this matchup, as he should have when the two teams met earlier this season. Harris finished with just two points compared to Pierce who set the tone with a flurry of points early in the fourth. He led all Celtics with 25 points to go with nine rebounds and three assists.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Courtney Lee had a strong first quarter against Philadelphia, tallying all six of his points. But like the rest of his teammates, consistency remains an issue of sorts for him.

WHAT WE SAW: Lee did a few nice things defensively off the bench, but again, having to deal with Monta Ellis ... Lee's impact was minimal at best.

STAT TO TRACK:  Boston is connecting on 38 percent of its threes this year, which ranks eighth in the NBA. However, the Celtics are in the bottom 10 - No. 28 actually - on three-point attempts with 14.2 per game. The C's are due for one of those nights when the three-ball is launched repeatedly. But it won't be easy against a Milwaukee team that gives up a league-low 16 3s per game.

WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics had a pretty typical night shooting the ball from three-point range. The C's shot 33.3 percent, connecting on five of their 15 attempts.