Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
They were not quite tagging each other in and out on the sideline like professional wrestlers, but the Celtics shared the load on Saturday in a way they had not in the first two weeks of the season. With Paul Pierce leading the way, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass all assumed a bit of the scoring load down the stretch as the Celtics’ defense got a handful of their old standby stops. The Celtics may be a long way from generating the full 48 minutes of quality basketball that coach Doc Rivers has begged for, but their 96-92 victory over the Bucks eliminated any excuse that they cannot win games despite their inconsistency. As was suspected prior to the season, the Celtics’ depth should be enough to carry them to a few ugly wins while they iron out the chemistry issues that doomed them to three losses in their first five games. “We’ve just got to continue to believe,” Rajon Rondo said Friday after a dispiriting loss to the Sixers. “We won’t have as many practices coming up as we would like, so for right now we have to do it with our talking [on the court].” The shortage of practices during their current stretch of eight games in 12 days may in fact be the best thing that could happen to the Celtics. Instead of thinking through every offensive set and defensive assignment, they can just play. That freedom seemed to take hold in the third quarter against the Bucks. A stilted first half of poor shooting, no discernible dedication to protecting the basketball and non-existent ball movement yielded a three-point halftime deficit. Then two players in green took the court after intermission and just played. Pierce had 11 points in the third quarter and Terry had eight points, and by the end of the quarter the Celtics were rewarded by… seeing their deficit grow by a point. Monta Ellis, who scored 21 of his 32 points in the first three quarters, did not give in to Boston simply because Pierce and Terry were having a nice offensive night. Yet what the scoreboard and the stat sheet read were barely relevant for the Celtics. What mattered was that at least a couple of Celtics other than Garnett and Rondo were playing with passion. As a team, Boston handed out six assists in the third quarter, only two fewer than they recorded in the entire first half. Along came the fourth quarter and another six assists, all while Rondo saw his streak of 29 straight games with at least 11 assists come to an end. Rondo did not get to his statistical milestone because, for one half of one game, the Celtics did not need him to. The Bucks are a scrappy bunch led by a scrappy coach in Scott Skiles, and their backcourt of Ellis and Brandon Jennings is as talented as any in the league. Milwaukee’s persistence had earned it a 3-1 record and momentary residence atop the Central Division entering Saturday’s game. But even a discombobulated Boston team, with its two future Hall of Famers, All-Star point guard, duel former sixth men of the year and solid role-playing wings, is supposed to be able to overcome Jennings and Ellis’ assault. It appeared the Celtics could not overcome it, though, when Ellis drained a 3-pointer to give the Bucks the lead and end a 46-second flurry in which he and Pierce exchanged shots five times. Pierce missed the next time down the floor, but the Celtics corralled the rebound and the ball found Garnett in the corner. Tag, Garnett in. He hit the jump shot to give the Celtics the lead, and then another to extend that lead to three points. Tag, Bass in. Bass received a pass along the left baseline, not far from where Garnett took his shot a few possessions earlier, and swished a jumper. Marquis Daniels responded with two free throws. Tag, Green in. Green, who began the fourth quarter with only four points, dropped a push-shot for his eighth and final point of the quarter. This was the type of production the Celtics’ personnel is supposed to provide, even when they are not as cohesive as they plan on being later in the season. In place of unity, their talent should take over against the lesser and middle-of-the-pack teams before they bring it all together to challenge the elites. The approach might not produce a beautiful style of play, but in November very few teams are fully comfortable yet. The Celtics have the individual players to carry them through at a time like this, and on Saturday those individuals delivered. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jon Jones wanted for questioning in hit and run

Pitcher throws perfect game with 23 strikeouts, still loses

Will LaMarcus Aldridge leave the Portland Trailblazers?

Wizards sweep listless Raptors

Clippers defeat Spurs, even series at 2-2

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

JR Smith 'nervous as hell' about possible suspension

Dana White: No more WWE for Ronda Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk for 'bush league' play

Report: Eli Manning not concerned about contract

Several teams interested in Bucs' No. 1 overall pick?

Report: Marcus Smart overslept, could get less playing time

Paul Pierce burns Raptors fans with epic troll job

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

WATCH: Former NBA’er Darko Milicic is enjoying life

WATCH: Alex Gordon leaps into stands for incredible catch

WATCH: JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder in face

WATCH: Kevin Love leaves Game 4 with shoulder injury

Joe Flacco content with current Ravens receivers

WATCH: Demetrious Johnson wins with last-second submission

WATCH: Jerryd Bayless beats Bulls with buzzer-beater

John Legend catches Belichick checking out Chrissy Teigen

Jim Rice to Jim Palmer: 'Quit complaining'

Time Warner-Comcast failed merger hurts Dodgers fans

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Paul Pierce trolls Raptors fans

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

Darko Milicic is enjoying life

Pitcher throws perfect game, still loses

Will Aldridge leave the Blazers?

Alex Gordon leaps into stands for catch

Dana White: No more WWE for Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk

JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder

Report: Wainwright likely done for year

UAB player brings helmet to graduation

Leah Still scores in Temple spring game

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.