Celtics rally but fall in OT, 99-94

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Celtics rally but fall in OT, 99-94

BOSTON The Boston Celtics won't be back at the TD Garden until the calendar flips to 2013.

And if it was going to be the last game of the year, it might as well have been a memorable one, right?

The C's set the stage for one of the more improbable comebacks of the season, rallying from a seven-point deficit with 42.2 seconds to play to force overtime.

But in the extra session, the C's simply didn't have enough left to complete the rally, losing 99-94 in overtime to the Bucks.

The Celtics had a chance to force a second overtime but Paul Pierce's 3-point attempt was blocked by Larry Sanders, who then sprinted down court for an uncontested dunk for the game's final points.

Pierce had another big game for the Celtics in scoring a game-high 35 points. It was Pierce's second straight game with 30 or more points, something he had not did sinceMarch 3and 6 against Orlando and the New York Knicks, respectively.

The loss drops Boston (13-13) to .500 for the season while the Bucks (14-11) continue to keep pace as one of the top teams in the Central Division.

Getting a feel for the true impact of Friday's loss won't be felt until the end of the season.

Friday's win was Milwaukee's third in four matchups over the Celtics, giving the Bucks the head-to-head series which could come into play if the two finish with an identical regular season record.

After leading most of the night, the Celtics found themselves down 74-72 after a 3-pointer by Brandon Jennings with just over eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

From there, the C's were fighting an uphill battle that ultimately ended with yet another loss to the Bucks.

For the second straight game, the Celtics starting five included the two Jasons - Collins at center and Terry at shooting guard.

After a series of lead changes throughout the first few minutes of the game, the Celtics broke open a 10-all tie with a 12-2 run capped off by a pair of free throws by Jeff Green.

Green, a 13.7 points per game scorer against the Bucks this season, had 14 points off the C's bench.

The C's would eventually take a 25-17 lead into the second quarter which put the Celtics in great position based on how they fared previously.

Boston came into Friday's game 9-3 when leading after the first quarter, which includes a 4-1 record when they hold an opponent to less than 19 points in the first.

Even with a lead throughout the second quarter, the Bucks still managed to stay within a striking distance near the end of the quarter.

After a Brandon Bass dunk put the Celtics ahead 43-33 with3:08to play in the half, Milwaukee went on a 10-3 run of their own to come within three points of the C's going into the half.

Closing out quarters well has been an issue for the Celtics all season, and sadly, that trend continued on Friday.

One of the many bright spots for Boston at the half was the play of Paul Pierce, who showed no signs of cooling down after a red-hot performance in Boston's win over Cleveland on Wednesday when he tallied a season-high 40 points.

At the half on Friday, Pierce led all players with 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

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Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

Yes, four first-round picks for Jacob Trouba is crazy.

Yes, two firsts and David Pastrnak for Kevin Shattenkirk is stupid.

And, of course, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson is ridiculous. (Remember Bruins fans: As bad as it's been, it could be worse. Peter Chiarelli could still be here.)

No one is disputing that the asking price for good, young defensemen across the NHL has gone haywire. If you're acquiring one of those players, you are likely going to lose the deal, and that's no way to run a franchise.

But here's the question for the Bruins: What's the alternative? Do the Bruins want to try and win in the Patrice Bergeron window or not?

That's what it comes down to for the B's. Bergeron will turn 31 in three weeks, and while he may have plenty of seasons left, his time as one of the best two-way players in the NHL is certainly more finite. He will likely be out of that elite status by the time anyone currently in the B's system develops into the type of No. 1 defenseman the team so desperately needs -- if there's even anyone who fits that description in the first place.

In other words, if the B's want a top-pairing defenseman anytime soon, they're going to have to pay for it. Or overpay for it. Draft picks. Players. Offer sheets. Whatever. Something unappealing is going to have to go out the door.

If there's another way, I'd like to know what it is. There's virtually nothing to choose from in the unrestricted pool. And everyone on the current depth chart is either too old, too young or too crappy.

So four first-rounders and a $7 million annual cap hit for Trouba? That's an impossible price to wrap your head around, until you consider the alternatives.

Ideally, the B's are using that Jets offer sheet threat as a leverage play, an attempt to create options in hopes the Blues lower their ask on Shattenkirk, or the Ducks lower their price on Cam Fowler. Maybe the B's have been trying to work a trade with the Jets for Trouba himself and are just bringing a hammer to the table. Lower your demands or we'll offer sheet him. Perhaps that offer sheet isn't even a realistic consideration and is nothing more than noise.

I have no idea. The only thing I know is that the B's still stink on D.

The players they have drafted the last few years may not be any good, and if they are it will be a half-decade before they're capable of playing the kind of playoff minutes necessary to contend for a Cup. The Bruins keep saying they want to contend now, which is pretty much impossible given the personnel on the blue line.

So what do they want? To wait for the kids and blow the rest of Bergeron's prime? Or give up an exorbitant price in a deal they'll very likely lose?

I'd probably lean towards the later, but there's really no right answer. It's called Bruins.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz daily from 2-6 p.m. The simulcast runs on CSN.

OFFSEASON

Report: Durant will be meeting with Celtics on Saturday

Report: Durant will be meeting with Celtics on Saturday

Kevin Durant’s weekend of free agent visits has come into focus on the final day of June.

According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Boston Celtics will be meeting with the free agent superstar on Saturday.

After meeting with Durant on Saturday, the Celtics should have a better idea if they will need to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before Sunday's July 3 deadline. Waiving the duo would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.