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Bucks finish off Celtics

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- This time, the Milwaukee Bucks finished the job.

"It comes down to making plays at the end of the game. A couple nights ago in New York, we didn't make the plays down the stretch," Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said after his team held the Celtics to seven second-half field goals and spoiled Brad Stevens' home debut with a 105-98 win on Friday night.

"Tonight, we made the plays. We really fought hard as far as coming back and we put ourselves in a position. ... Same thing in New York, but we just didn't make the plays. Tonight, we made the plays."

Trailing by 22 points in the third quarter and by 17 late in the quarter, the Bucks roared from behind and presented Drew with his first win in two games as Bucks coach.

Stevens fell to 0-2.

Big man Zaza Pachulia, who had his battles with now-former Celtic Kevin Garnett when Pachulia played in two playoff series against the Celtics with the Atlanta Hawks, led a 66-point bench assault. Playing 29:36, he scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had four assists and went 10 of 10 from the foul line. He led four Milwaukee bench players in double figures.

"Oh man ... second time, same thing," he said, referring to the 90-83 loss in New York. "In New York, we just couldn't finish the game. Here, we learned from the mistakes we (made) in New York."

Drew, the former coach of the Hawks, told the players at halftime they could win. They then cut into the lead in the third quarter and finished it off with a 17-5 run (10-0 at the end), making the flight home for Saturday night's home opener much easier to take.

"The first half, to say we came out flat is an understatement," said Caron Butler, who started and had eight points and six rebounds. "What more can you say about the big fella, Zaza, doing it all. He can't jump over a sheet of paper, but he knows how to use his body."

The injury-depleted Bucks made their final run in the last 4:28, sending the stunned home crowd home disappointed.

"We got selfish," said Boston's Gerald Wallace, who had 14 points. "Instead of worrying about winning the ballgame, we were more worried about our stats and getting points. It showed."

Rookie Nate Wolters and John Henson (nine rebounds) had 14 points apiece and fellow sub Khris Middleton added 13 points for Milwaukee. Gary Neal was the only starter in double figures with 14 points.

The Celtics, who lost their opener on Wednesday night in Toronto, trailed only 2-0 and 2-1 before a 16-2 first-quarter run quickly put them in control. But Boston went 7 of 33 from the floor in the second half.

"We were watching them play the Knicks and a 20-point lead is nothing," said Stevens, the former Butler coach given the rebuilding task in Boston. "They took a lead against the Knicks, too, late in that game after being down 25 at halftime. And I think that when we watch the film ... I thought they were really having their way with us physically on the offensive and defensive end in the last 16-18 minutes."

Instant fan favorite Vitor Faverani, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound Brazilian import who had 13 points and three rebounds in the opener, finished with 12 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots in 37 minutes.

Brandon Bass had 17 points and six rebounds, Wallace 14 points, including a big 3-pointer late, and Jeff Green added 13 points in the loss.

"I want losing to hurt, first and foremost," Stevens said. "Losing should hurt. But I don't want it to be something that lingers."

NOTES: Guard Avery Bradley, injured in a collision started and played 32 minutes but was in foul trouble and fouled out late. ... Stevens attended the unveiling of the Bill Russell statue at City Hall on Friday. Russell was also honored at the end of the first quarter on Friday night, receiving a lengthy ovation. NBA commissioner David Stern and his Feb. 1 replacement, Adam Silver, were also at the event and then at the game. ... The World Series-champion Red Sox were honored with a pregame video tribute, followed by the Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner bringing the trophy onto the court. Injured G Rajon Rondo, wearing a fake beard to honor the Red Sox, welcomed the crowd to the game. ... The Bucks were missing G Brandon Knight (hamstring) and G Luke Ridnour (back) as well as G/F Carlos Delfino and F Ekpe Udoh (offseason surgeries). ... Celtics F Jared Sullinger returned from his one-game team suspension resulting from his offseason domestic violence arrest (charges recently dropped after his girlfriend refused to testify under her fifth amendment rights). He had 10 points in 10:23 off the bench. ... The Bucks are home to Toronto on Saturday night and the Celtics open a two-game road swing at Detroit on Sunday.
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