Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 12/22/12
Paul Pierce has 75 points in his last two games.  He dropped 40 on the Cavs on Wednesday.  You do the math.  In a wild evening’s most competitive tilt, Pierce was at his best when his team needed him most.  At 35 years old, one of the greatest players in the history of basketball’s most storied franchise continues to age extremely gracefully. Twelve of Paul’s game-high 35 came in the fourth quarter or overtime, and 10 of those 12 were scored in the last four minutes of regulation alone.  Trailing 81-76 with 3:47 to play, The Truth took it upon himself to bring the Celtics back.  He scored his first bucket of the quarter from the right wing, where he got Prince Luc Richard Mbah A Moute into the air, drew a foul, and sunk the shot.  I didn’t like the call, but he made the shot and missed the free throw anyway.  Following a score by Brandon Jennings, Pierce answered with a difficult three-pointer between two flying Bucks, each of whom had been removed from their shoes and socks by another stellar pump fake. Impressively, Milwaukee was able to absorb P2′s initial offensive punch.  On a Monta Ellis free throw, the Bucks extended their advantage to seven with just 42 seconds to go.  Refusing to give up hope, Pierce got himself to the line and knocked down a pair.  Following two untimely misses by Brandon Jennings (who had a really rough go of things down the stretch), Jeff Green finished a beautifully-executed lob play that wasted almost no time at all.  With 29 seconds to go, the Cs were within three and didn’t need to foul.  Let us go to the video… Three things I’d like to note here: Firstly, is Jason Terry (1-15, worst shooting night of his career) ever going to make another clutch jumper?  I mean, sh!t, how many opportunities has this man had to be the hero this season?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the second time he’s clunked a potential game-tying shot against Milwaukee alone. Secondly, what a terrible pass by Brandon Jennings (one of two crucial TOs he committed down the stretch, hence my “rough go of things” remark in paragraph #3).  Even if the pass makes it past Rajon Rondo, it probably gets stolen by KG.  If it makes it past KG, Larry Sanders has the ball in the corner with six seconds on the shot clock.  With all due respect to my main man Larry Sanders, whatever he was going to do in that situation would not have ended well (he shot an airball from 20 feet on a broken play to end regulation, but I’m not mad at him ’cause he was a beast and 20-foot jumpers obviously aren’t his game. At least he had the presence of mind to face the hoop and fire before time expired). Thirdly, let’s give Jeff Green some credit for his game-saving tap-out.  As soon as the ball ricocheted (I wanted to use the word that sounds like “kareen,” but I can’t figure out how to spell it correctly — help?) into the hands of The Truth, you simply knew this thing was going to overtime. Now, you might be wondering why I’m telling the story of this game from a Bostonian’s perspective when Milwaukee ended up winning it 99-94 in overtime.  Well, unfortunately, that’s because the officials kind of f@cked the overtime up to the extent that I’m not sure who would’ve won had they not f@cked it up. This was a 94-94 contest with 36 seconds left in the extra period.  Anyone’s game, right?  Right, but that’s when the victory was essentially handed to the Bucks.  As Monta Ellis maneuvered around the elbow area in search of a shot, Courtney Lee was called for a ticky-tack bump that sent the Moped to the line.  It was an awful call — the type that is never whistled at this juncture — and it resulted in not two, but three Buck points thanks to yet another blown call.  When Monta missed the second of two, he came up with his own offensive rebound, leading to two more free throws (for Brandon Jennings, who made both).  Problem is, Monta was able to recover the loose ball because Ersan Ilyasova absolutely belted Jeff Green in the face with an inadvertent elbow that the officials somehow missed (scary moment as Green remained on the floor with a towel pressed to his face for a solid two or three minutes).  Paul Pierce had his last-ditch three-point try blocked, Larry Sanders proceeded to throw down a buzzer-beating dunk, and the Celtics “lost.” Most certainly, the Celtics had earned more from the referees.  I’m not saying the Bucks didn’t make plays to put themselves in position to win, because they did.  All I’m saying is that a hard-fought battle such as this one ought to have been decided by the players who made it so remarkable, not by the officials.  I’m typically rather forgiving of the refs as I recognize that they have a very difficult job to do, but that call that sent Ellis to the stripe… it was almost random, like an offensive hold in the NFL — a ref could call it on every single play if he/she wanted to, but an experienced one knows better than to do so in certain situations.  This particular foul call on Courtney Lee was the suspect hold that brought back the 35-yard fourth-quarter run. All in all, I’m still very pleased that I caught the last 11 minutes (and various other parts) of this thing.  Paul Pierce nearly made an overtime dunk that would’ve caused me to wake up the neighborhood.  Larry Sanders became the first Buck to score 17 points and grab 20 rebounds against the Celtics since Kareem did it in 1975 (Larry had two huge buckets in the 4th/OT, one of which was an alley-oop poster over Garnett).  Monta Ellis scored 27, made some crucial shots.  Jeff Green had 14 big points and one hell of a block (that I can’t find a video of, sorry) off the bench.  Tommy Heinsohn berated the officials for not calling a foul on the Celtics on that aforementioned possession where the Celtics obviously did not want to foul.  Absolutely awesome f@cking game, positively sh!tty f@cking ending.
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