NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 10th (All times eastern)
Boston Celtics (49-30) at Milwaukee Bucks (45-34), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics efforts to lock down the third seed in the Eastern Conference took a big hit last night. Things don't figure to get any easier for Doc Rivers' club, which invades Brew City to take on the Milwaukee Bucks in a possible first round playoff preview.
The C's suffered a hiccup at the worst time on Friday when Andray Blatche poured in 31 points and came down with 11 rebounds as the hapless Wizards snapped a six-game skid against Boston with a 106-96 triumph at TD Garden.
The loss left the Celtics a game behind Atlanta for third place in the East with just three games left for each team. The Hawks beat Toronto, 107-101, on Friday and Atlanta also holds the tiebreaker over Boston by virtue of sweeping the season series.
"They scored every time and you know honestly I thought we had decent shots, just nothing went in," Rivers said. "And I thought we kind of hung our heads a little bit. I told our guys I really took the blame for this loss. I gave our guys yesterday off and shoot-around off today. I forbade anybody from going to the gym today because we need our rest. And I thought it really killed our rhythm."
The Celtics were a woeful 12-of-40 from the field in the first half and fell behind 52-31 at the break. They never recovered even though a pair of Nate Robinson three-pointers late made it a six-point game.
Rajon Rondo ended with 17 points and 12 assists, while Robinson scored 13 for Boston, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.
The Bucks, meanwhile, won their fourth straight game in Philadelphia last night when Carlos Delfino hit five three-pointers on his way to 23 points, as Milwaukee held on to top the 76ers, 95-90.
Luke Ridnour shot 8-of-12 and had 18 points for the Bucks, who now hold sole possession of the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. They were tied with Miami, but the Heat lost to Detroit on Friday to fall a game behind.
Brandon Jennings added 16 points, seven assists and a career-high five steals while John Salmons played just 24 minutes and scored seven points while battling the flu.
"We've just talked about winning as many as we can and getting as high a seed as we can," said Bucks head coach Scott Skiles. "That's what we're trying to do."
These two teams have split a pair of meetings so far this season with each holding serve on its home floor. They will also close the regular season next Wednesday in Boston.
04/10 10:41:31 ET