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.

Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

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Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

There's one where he makes a one-handed catch and celebrates with his arms outstretched as he glides into the end zone. There's another where he leaves his feet to go up and over safety Devin McCourty to come down with a pass. 

Judging by some of the pictures that have surfaced on Patriots.com of Rob Gronkowski participating in an OTA practice earlier this week, the All-Pro tight end seems to be feeling pretty good. 

Gronkowski, who agreed to an incentive-laden contract restructure for the upcoming season, is returning to action after undergoing season-ending back surgery last year so there was some question as to just how prepared he'd be to participate in practices this spring and summer. 

Again, judging by the photos, the answer is he's ready to ready to run routes on air and make contested catches against defenders.

Reporters will have an opportunity to watch the team practice on Thursday, the first workout open to members of the media, which will allow us to judge Gronkowski's mobility and his level of participation more fully.

Another takeaway from the photos on the team website is that Gronkowski was not required to wear a non-contact jersey during the session. Contact is not allowed during this phase of the offseason training program, but players returning from injury (and quarterbacks) will still wear red jerseys to inform their teammates they're not to be touched. For instance, Jonathan Freeny, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve about a month into last season, donned a red non-contact jersey in one image.