C's blow 22-point lead, lose home opener to Bucks

C's blow 22-point lead, lose home opener to Bucks
November 1, 2013, 10:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON — The lessons are going to come often for the Celtics this season.

On Friday night it was the Milwaukee Bucks teaching the Celtics a thing or two about heartbreak as Boston squandered a lead that peaked at 22 points in the third quarter before losing 105-98 to the Bucks in their home opener.

Bucks big man Zaza Pachulia who had a game-high 20 points, made a pair of free throws with 43.5 seconds to play that put Milwaukee ahead 99-98.

After a Celtics timeout, Gerald Wallace was stripped by Caron Butler as the loose ball wound up in the hands of Nate Wolters.

The second-round pick from South Dakota State, who was fouled on a drive to the basket, made both free throws with 31.4 seconds to play.

Boston had a chance to tie the score with a 3-pointer, but Courtney Lee elected to drive into the lane for a shot that was off the mark.

The Celtics looked confused as to what to do, as the Bucks took advantage of the situation as Pachulia scored on a layup with 15.1 seconds to play that sealed the victory.

For most of Friday night, this current group of Celtics seemed to be channeling their inner-Bill Russell with strong play in just about every phase of play.

Russell, widely considered the greatest Celtic ever, was in attendance after having a 6-foot-10, 600-pound statue of his likeness unveiled in downtown Boston earlier in the day.

Still, as we have seen throughout the preseason and the early stages of the regular season, this group of Celtics has little in common with the great Boston teams of the past.

However, the Celtics can still find positives even in defeat.

Center Vitor Faverani continues to play like a seasoned pro, scoring 12 points to go with 18 rebounds on Friday night.

Boston got another strong game from Brandon Bass who had 17 points and nine rebounds and Lee (13 points, three rebounds off the bench).

Jared Sullinger, making his season debut after serving a one-game suspension, had 10 points off the bench.

Milwaukee (1-1) spent most of the game playing from behind and struggled getting into any kind of offensive flow.

Part of that had to do with them being short-handed at the point guard position.

Starting point guard Brandon Knight (hamstring) and his backup Luke Ridenour (back) were both out with injuries. The Bucks were also missing Carlos Delfino (foot) and Ekpe Udoh (knee).

The Bucks' bench carried them in the second half, with Wolters (14 ponits, six assists) and John Henson (14 points and nine rebounds) playing pivotal roles in the comeback.