Nov 10, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis (11) (right) dunks over forward Ersan Ilyasova (left) during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Milwaukee Bucks Game Review: Celtics Turn Back Clock, Even Season Series

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett looked slow and disinterested for much of the first 36 minutes of Saturday night’s game, but they managed to turn back the clocks in the fourth quarter. The Bucks took a 68-64 lead into the final frame, where Boston finally took advantage of Milwaukee’s poor shooting and perimeter defense. With the score tied at 74 and 5:28 left in regulation, Pierce and Garnett returned to superstar forms – combining to score 16 points of Boston’s final 22 points. Monta Ellis offered valiant resistance – scoring 11 points in that time span – but, as was the case for most of the night, his teammates provided little support. The Bucks shot 39.8 percent from the floor and connected on just three of their 19 three-point attempts (15.8 percent) in the game. Boston, thanks to a hot shooting fourth quarter, hit 44.4 percent of their field goal attempt and converted eight more free throw than Milwaukee.

MVP:

Monta Ellis – Ellis turned in his first impressive performance of the season, scoring 32 points on 24 shots. With his backcourt partner Brandon Jennings struggling mightily, Ellis carried the scoring load for the majority of the night by blowing past Jason Terry, attacking the rim and drawing fouls. He still settled for a few long-range twos early in the shot clock, but was more aggressive than we’ve seen all season. Ellis also added eight assists with only one turnover.

Honorable Mentions:

Samuel Dalembert – This is the Dalembert the Bucks thought they were getting in July. After four consecutive uninspired, aloof and lethargic performances by the starting center, Dalembert was a bright spot on Saturday night. Dalembert was active on both sides of the court – getting physical with Garnett in the post and throwing down four dunks in the first quarter. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.

Larry Sanders – After just three 10+ point performances in 52 games last season, Sanders has scored in double digits every game this season. He’s playing within his limits at a consistent pace and is only settling for high percentage shots. Sanders finished the night with 10 points, 12 rebounds and a blocked shot. He continues to foul at an incredible rate – fouling out last night in 26 minutes – which appears to be the only thing hampering his playing time.

Marquis Daniels – Daniels put on a show against his former team, and it wasn’t a “flexing” show. With Tobias Harris and Mike Dunleavy picking up early fouls, Skiles summoned the veteran off the bench. Daniels responded by providing a much-needed spark. He scored 12 points on 5-9 shooting, picking up the offensive slack of the reserve wings; Dunleavy and Beno Udrih combined to score just four points.

LVP:

Brandon Jennings: It was simply a night to forget for Jennings. He scored four points on 1-11 shooting in over 41 minutes of action. He added five assists, but turned the ball over three times and committed four fouls. The one thing Jennings did well, however, was limiting the penetration of opposing point guard Rajon Rondo – an underrated feat, which was brought to light by Udrih’s short-lived attempt to stay in front Rondo.

Dishonorable Mention:

Ersan Ilyasova – Ilyasova continues to struggle with his shot, which is inexcusably affecting other aspects of his game – rebounding rates, free throw percentage and all-around hustle.  He hit only three of his 12 shot attempts and finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 32 minutes. Ilyasova had a chance to tie the game with 20 seconds left, but Jeff Green stripped the ball away on a mid-range shot attempt. He is shooting just 29.8 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from the charity stripe. I’m not too worried about Ilyasova yet – he wasn’t impressive through five games last year, either – but his early struggles have already prompted comparisons to post-contract Anthony Mason and Tim Thomas. That’s never good.

Tweet of the Night: 

Ekpe Udoh Rebounds: Four (!) in just over 15 minutes. He hauled in two defensive rebounds, doubling his season total.

Attendance: 14,589 (77.9 percent capacity). It’s somewhat alarming the Bucks can only fill four-fifths of their seats when they’re playing the Celtics at home on a Saturday night (during a Packers bye week, no less). Winning can change this, but if a 3-1 start doesn’t bring fans to the gate, a mediocre team vying for the eighth seed probably won’t either.

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