Bucks slip past Celtics in OT 99-94
BOSTON (AP) -- Monta Ellis scored five of his 27 points in overtime and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics in the teams' final meeting this season 99-94 on Friday night despite blowing a seven-point lead late in regulation.
The Bucks won for the sixth time in eight games, taking three of four against the Celtics, who had a five-game home winning streak snapped despite 35 points by Paul Pierce.
Luc Mbah a Moute scored 20 points and Larry Sanders had 17 and 20 rebounds for Milwaukee.
Jeff Green scored 14 points, Kevin Garnett 12 and Courtney Lee 11 for the Celtics.
Pierce, who scored a season-high 40 points in Boston's previous game, sent the game to OT by hitting a 3 with 2.5 seconds left.
Green had to leave with a towel over his left eye in the closing seconds of OT.
Ellis' consecutive baskets, coming nearly two minutes apart, had given the Bucks a 94-90 lead with just over a minute to play. But, like in regulation, Pierce made a jumper and Garnett hit a long jumper, tying it with 37 seconds left.
After a timeout, Ellis was fouled by Lee and hit the first of two, making it 95-94. Milwaukee came up with the ball after a scramble on the missed free throw and Boston's Pierce was forced to foul Brandon Jennings with 18.5 seconds left. Jennings hit both free throws.
Pierce's 3 from the left wing was blocked and Sanders had a breakaway dunk to seal it.
The Celtics had trailed 88-81 with under a minute to play before Pierce scored five points, tying it on a 3 from the top with 2.5 seconds to play. Sanders airballed a foul-line jumper at the horn, sending the game to OT.
The basket came after a steal by Rondo after Jason Terry missed a wide open 3 and Green batted the rebound out to Pierce.
Jennings' 3-pointer right in front of Boston's bench with 7:56 to play moved the Bucks ahead 74-72, their first lead since the game's opening basket. Boston tied it on Green's two free throws on the ensuing possession, but Milwaukee scored seven of the next nine, making it 81-76 on Sanders' left-handed hook with 4:39 to play.
Pierce's 3-pointer from the left wing -- after he let two defenders go flying by -- cut it to 83-81 with 2:45 to go. After he got a steal on the other end, he back-rimmed a 3 before the Bucks had a 24-second violation, giving the ball back to Boston with 1:46 left.
But Pierce's jumper rolled out on the next possession and Ellis hit a driving floater from the right side of the lane, making it 85-81 with 1:11 to go.
Sanders then had an alley-oop off Ellis' pass to give the Bucks a six-point edge with just under a minute to play.
Boston, which led by three at halftime, pushed it to 50-43 when Garnett hit consecutive jumpers. The Bucks then scored the next six points, closing it to one, and the score remained tight until the Celtics finished the third quarter by scoring 10 of the last 12 points.
Rondo had a steal in the closing seconds and passed to Lee for a breakaway layup with 1.3 seconds remaining to give Boston a 70-62 edge at the break.
The Bucks answered with Mike Dunleavy scoring the first five points of the fourth in a 9-2 run that narrowed it to 72-71 on Sanders' reverse layup with 9 1/2 minutes left.
Coming off his hot shooting night in Wednesday's win over Cleveland, Pierce looked sharp again. He missed his initial shot then hit seven straight, scoring 17 points until missing a pair of open 3s late in the second quarter.
NOTES: The Bucks' usual starting guards were in there despite suffering recent injuries. Jennings had twisted his right ankle during Wednesday's game in Memphis and Ellis missed the morning shootaround with a sore back. "We've got to have our guards in the game, so it's good they'll be able to go," coach Scott Skiles said. ... Boston coach Doc Rivers didn't feel either team had an advantage even though they've already met three times in a short time. "It's amazing," he said. "This is the fourth time. It's funny. I don't think any of the lineups have been the same on either team, so it's four new times every time we play them." ... Rondo was given a technical in the opening quarter. ... The Celtics next play on Christmas Day in Brooklyn against the Nets, opening a four-game road trip that has them on the West Coast for the final three. ... Milwaukee hosts Cleveland on Saturday night, the opener of three straight at home. ... Pierce and Jason Collins were part of a strange 3-point play when Pierce hit a jumper and Collins was fouled, hitting the free throw.