Celtics-Bucks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 10, 2012
The Milwaukee Bucks are off to their best start in seven years, and they got things going with a rare victory over the Boston Celtics last week. The Bucks will try to keep rolling by winning back-to-back meetings with the Celtics for the first time in 5 1/2 years Saturday night. Milwaukee (3-1) hasn't started this well since winning four of its first five in 2005-06. Brandon Jennings helped get this season off to an impressive start Nov. 2, scoring 21 points with 13 assists in a 99-88 win at Boston (2-3). The Bucks had lost six straight and 14 of the previous 17 matchups. Milwaukee last won back-to-back meetings with Boston from April 4-13, 2007. Jennings is averaging 18.5 points while hitting 8 of 19 3-pointers in four games against the Celtics at the Bradley Center. Fellow guard Monta Ellis had 14 points against Boston last week and is averaging 23.1 over his last eight meetings. Ellis spurred Friday's 101-91 win at winless Washington by scoring 22 points and adding five assists and five rebounds. Jennings had 12 points and seven assists before being ejected after shoving the Wizards' Bradley Beal following a flagrant foul on Ellis. "I was just trying to protect my teammate," Jennings said. "I didn't think I was going to get kicked out for it." The Bucks will surely need Jennings on the court as they continue a stretch of three games in four days. After hosting Boston, they'll visit Philadelphia on Monday. The Celtics can sympathize with Milwaukee, as they visit the Bradley Center for the second game of the same stretch. They'll end it at Chicago on Monday. Boston will be trying to rebound from Friday's 106-100 home defeat to Philadelphia, two days after beating Washington 100-94 in overtime to sweep a home-and-home set. The Celtics gave up 26 fast-break points to the 76ers. "If we can do a better job of getting back on defense, limit the easy opportunities, we give ourselves a better chance," forward Paul Pierce said. "Guys on the perimeter have to get back." Despite their slow start after losing in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference finals last season, the Celtics know it takes time for a team with many new players to jell. "I'm very patient," Pierce said. "I understand it's a process. We're only five games in. We're still building." Still, Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett remain the key offensive threats. Pierce leads the team with 20.0 points per game after scoring 24 against Philadelphia, while Garnett is averaging 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds over the past four games. Rondo is averaging 15.6 points and a league-leading 14.0 assists, dishing out a season-high 20 on Friday. He had 11 assists and 14 points against Milwaukee last week, while Pierce and Garnett combined to score 26 with 10 boards. Jason Terry has totaled 29 points while hitting 12 of 22 shots from the field - 4 of 9 from beyond the arc - over the past two games for Boston.
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