Sun. Final: Bucks 86, Celtics 77
By Todd Welter
Next game: Wednesday, March 18th vs. Orlando
Bucks Shots at 6:40 on 620WTMJ.
Charlie Bell only made one basket the entire game but he made that one bucket when it mattered most. When it almost looked like the Bucks would let another game slip away; Bell buried a victory-clinching three with 48 seconds remaining as the Bucks stunned the Boston Celtics with an 86-77 victory at the Bradley Center.
"This was big," Bell said about the win. "We felt like we gave some of the recent games away. We really needed this one."
Charlie Villanueva scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter before he fouled out with 4:06 left. Combine his offense in the fourth and the Bucks playing great defense -- and getting a few bounces their way -- and that is why the Bucks walked away with the victory.
"They played harder, they got all the loose balls, and every big play," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers thought. "I do believe in the basketball gods and I think they were getting everything."
Then pay homage to the basketball gods for Bell's dramatic three because it almost did not happen. The Celtics were within four when Rajon Rando stole the ball from Bell. Luke Ridnour quickly flashed toward Rando and got just enough of his hand on the ball to deflect it back to Bell. With the shot clock about to expire, Bell put up a turnaround, off balanced heave that found the bottom of the net.
"That shot was a prayer," Bell admitted. "Rajon Rando made a great defensive effort to get the steal, but we finally got a ball to bounce in our direction and finally got a break."
The Bucks (31-38) also controlled some of their destiny as they forced Boston (50-17) to commit a season-high 25 turnovers and limited the Celtics to shoot just 37.7% from the field. The Bucks were going to need all the defense they could get as Milwaukee shot a weak 32.6% from the field. The Bucks kept the Celtics biggest offensive threats pretty much in check as Paul Pierce was limited to just 15 points while Rando and Ray Allen combined to score just 13 points. Kendrick Perkins registered a career-high 26 points.
"It's not too often when you shoot a little over 30% and win the game," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles thought. "We played hard from beginning to end on the defensive end. We were locked in and really moving our feet on the defensive end of the floor."
Milwaukee entered the fourth quarter with a slim 65-63 lead. The Bucks would push that lead up to 11 with 4:41 left thanks to a 15-6 run. You can credit most of that run to Villanueva as he scored all but four points during that run.
The Celtics quickly went on an 8-0 run after Villanueva fouled out to pull to within three with three minutes remaining. The Celtics went the remainder of the game without a point.
The Bucks face another huge challenge on Wednesday night as the Orlando Magic come to town.
"Every game we have to play with a sense of urgency now," Ridnour explained. "We are right there in terms of getting the eighth spot. The other teams are right on our tail and each game is big for us."