MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Mike James could feel a night like this coming
after feeling good all week during practice.
James scored a career-high 28 points, including eight
3-pointers, to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a big first half and a
121-97 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
James, a former Celtic, had 19 points and five of his 3-pointers
before halftime as the Bucks used a 22-0 run late in the second
quarter to take a 78-46 halftime lead.
The 78 points were the most for the Bucks in a half in 18 years
and the second-highest total for a half in the NBA this season.
Raef LaFrentz led the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics (24-25)
with 13 points. Paul Pierce, named to his fourth straight All-Star
Game earlier in the day, had just seven points -- 15 below his
Boston had its three-game winning streak snapped and failed to
move above .500 for the first time since Nov. 12.
Boston head coach Doc Rivers called the game "stinky."
"We cut our own self in the throat," Pierce said. "Things
didn't go our way, and then we really couldn't stop the bleeding."
James shot 9-of-15 in eclipsing his previous career high of 24
points set with the Celtics early in the 2003-04 season. He was
traded to the Detroit Pistons in time for their championship run
before signing with the Bucks in the offseason.
James ended the first half with a bang, picking off a long
downcourt pass, dribbling to the top of the key and sinking a
wide-open 3-pointer with less than a second remaining. The Bucks
left the court to a standing ovation from the crowd of 13,764.
"Once you get it going, it seems like the basket is the size of
a garbage can," said Milwaukee forward Joe Smith, one of five
Bucks to score in double figures. "He got it going early and just
rolled with it."
The Bucks outscored Boston 42-15 in the second quarter.
"It was probably our best offensive quarter of the year,"
Bucks coach Terry Porter said. "It's a lot of fun when you play
Boston's Kendrick Perkins was ejected following a scuffle
underneath the Bucks basket with 1:27 remaining in the third
Perkins fouled Desmond Mason as he drove the baseline for a
layup. The two got tangled up, and Perkins threw Mason to the
Members of both teams engaged in a shoving match, but no punches
were thrown. Ricky Davis also picked up a technical.
"That was something I wasn't expecting," Mason said. "My
teammates helped me stay out of trouble, which I appreciate."
The 121 points were a season high for Milwaukee.
"When we get it going like that, we can play that way," Mason
said. "But the thing is we don't do it often enough."
Milwaukee scored 78 points in the first half against the
New York Knicks on March 24, 1987. Their franchise high for points
in a half is 87 against the New Orleans Jazz on March 14, 1979. ...
The output was just two shy of the Celtic franchise record for
points allowed in a half. Boston allowed 80 against the Syracuse
Nationals on Jan. 19, 1963. ... Before the game, the Celtics traded
F Walter McCarty to the Phoenix Suns for a conditional second round
draft pick. They activated F Justin Reed.