Celtics finally get best of Bucks, 108-100

Celtics finally get best of Bucks, 108-100
December 3, 2013, 9:45 pm
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BOSTON — Four games below .500 is where the Boston Celtics (8-12) stand after finally beating the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Even more significant?

Tuesday's 108-100 victory catapulted the Celtics to the top of the Atlantic Division.

For a franchise that treats division banners the way fans treat free goodies - nice, but not that big a deal - the reality of where they stand in the playoff race has little meaning right now.

More important to them is trying to continue improving while racking up a few more wins along the way.

They seemed to be well on their way to doing that Tuesday night, but against the Bucks?

The Celtics, who had lost their two previous games against Milwaukee, had no reason to feel confident that they would emerge victorious even if they led most of the night.

A 3-pointer by Milwaukee's Brandon Knight cut Boston's lead to 99-96.

On the ensuing possession, the Celtics were in scramble mode, seemingly unsure of where to turn to for a much-needed basket.

After being limited most of the second half with a slew of double teams, it was Jared Sullinger who delivered a shot clock-beating jumper that would eventually prove to be the game-winning basket as his father Satch Sullinger looked on just a few feet away.

Sullinger was one of five starters for the Celtics to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds. Boston's Jordan Crawford led all scorers with 25 points and Courtney Lee, returning to the lineup after missing two games with a left knee strain, had 11 points off the bench including some clutch baskets in the second half.

Meanwhile the Bucks (3-14) were led by O.J. Mayo's 19 points.

Boston got just what they wanted in the game's opening minutes, getting bucket after bucket after bucket on the way towards a 22-9 start.

But the Celtics weren't about to get too confident, especially against a Milwaukee team that handed them a loss earlier this season despite the Celtics putting them in a 22-point hole that they were able to climb out of.

Boston's beginning was exactly what Milwaukee rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo had feared.

"Third time (against Boston will) be hard," Antetokounmpo told CSNNE.com prior to tip-off. "We cannot give them easy baskets at the beginning."

But the Bucks, as they have done in the previous two games, chipped away at Boston's lead with a 14-6 run to end the first that left the Celtics ahead 28-23.

An 8-0 run early in the second quarter pushed Boston's lead to 13 points again. But the second ended much like the first - a Milwaukee run - which saw Boston's lead trimmed to 48-41 at the half.