MILWAUKEE The Boston Celtics did pretty much all they wanted to against the Milwaukee Bucks except one thing - win the game.
They kept the Bucks from scoring a bunch of points, they held their own on the boards, kept the turnover differential relatively even and that still wasn't enough to withstand a late-game surge by the Bucks who rallied for a 91-88 win.
"We had a lot of chances," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. "Overall, I thought our guys really played hard and we did everything we could do. We missed a lot of good shots down the stretch. It was just a tough loss."
Rivers' comments were echoed throughout the Celtics locker room following the loss, their second in three meetings against the Bucks this season.
"Both teams were going back and fourth," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "They made some shots and we made some shots.
Garnett added, "we had a chance to win the game and that's all you can hope for, especially when you're doing back-to-backs on the road."
So the Celtics will have three days off before they return to the court with the goal being to do what they did against the Bucks with one difference - win the game.
Here are some keys identified prior to Saturday's loss, and how those factors played out.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Because of the blowout nature of Friday's win, the C's are in position to play their core players - Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, specifically - extended minutes tonight if necessary.
WHAT WE SAW: Garnett and Pierce played 31 and 37 minutes, respectively, which isn't all that out of the norm for them.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Courtney LeeJason Terry vs Monta EllisBrandon Jennings: The Celtics backcourt of Lee and Terry will spend time alternating defensively against one of the most high-powered backcourts in the NBA. Holding their own against Ellis and Jennings will be critical to the C's hopes of winning.
WHAT WE SAW: This matchup, like the game, was a fairly close most of the game. Lee and Terry did a nice job of not only scoring, but facilitating the offense that churned out 26 assists on 34 made field goals. Lee had 13 points and two assists while Terry had his first double-double with the Celtics, scoring 15 points while registering a season-high 11 assists.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeff Green is coming off a season-high 19 points, delivering the kind of high impact performance that the Celtics have been longing for all season. What's next? Doing it again.
WHAT WE SAW: Jeff Green continues to play with a purpose for the Celtics, tallying 18 points on Saturday to go with six rebounds.
STAT TO TRACK: The magic number for the Boston Celtics is 95; as in 95 points allowed. This season, the C's are 7-1 when they hold opponents to 95 points or less. That'll be important against the Bucks who are 6-2 this season when scoring 95 or more points.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston kept the Bucks below 95 points scored, but a late-game offensive funk coupled with a couple of bad defensive rotations in the final minute, would prove to be too much for the Celtics to overcome.