MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Just making the playoffs isn't enough for Doc
Rivers and the Boston Celtics.
Paul Pierce scored 32 points, including the game-winning basket
with 19 seconds left, and the Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks
111-108 on Wednesday night to clinch a playoff berth.
"That's really not what we want," Rivers said. "It's nice to
say we know we're in. We don't want to just get in. We want to win
our division and get home court (advantage)."
Antoine Walker and Ricky Davis each had 17 points for the
Celtics, who increased their lead in the Atlantic Division over
Philadelphia to 3½ games with four to play. Boston's magic number
to clinch the title and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference
playoffs is two.
Michael Redd scored 28 points for the Bucks, who lost their
third straight, while Dan Gadzuric added a career-high 22. His
previous best was 19 points twice, including Jan. 28 at Denver.
The Celtics seemed flat, which Rivers attributed to a big
victory a night earlier over Philadelphia. The Celtics coach said
his team needs to play with a bit of urgency in its final
"We still have a lot of work to do," Rivers said. "For me
now, it's to try to keep them motivated."
Veteran Gary Payton understands the importance of the final
"We still want to win our division. We have to go out and play
hard and make a statement," he said.
Pierce's 13-foot jumper gave the Celtics a 110-108 lead. Davis
hit one free throw with 6.5 seconds left for the final margin. With
1 second left, the Bucks tried to get off a shot to tie, but
Desmond Mason's pass went out of bounds.
"Down the stretch, you have to execute," Mason said. "We
fought ourselves into a position to win. I threw the ball out of
bounds at the end."
A basket by Zaza Pachulia of the Bucks made it 101-101, the
fifth tie in the final quarter and 15th in the game. But Pierce
scored with 4:11 remaining and on the next possession he added two
free throws for a 105-101 lead. Maurice Williams tied the game at
108 two free throws with 40 seconds to go.
Milwaukee led 84-80 after three quarter thanks to a 3-pointer by
Anthony Goldwire with 31 seconds left.
The Bucks got their first lead of the game at 33-32 on a
3-pointer by Goldwire with 8:37 left in the second quarter. The
score was tied seven times after that until Joe Smith's basket with
56 seconds remaining put the Bucks up 52-50. Milwaukee led 52-51 at
Boston scored the game's first nine points. Redd, who had 11
points to spark a Milwaukee comeback, hit the last basket of the
quarter to pull the Bucks within 30-26.<
The Bucks had a solid offensive game, but coach Terry Porter was
upset Boston shot 57.5 percent (42-for-73).
"That's obviously the first thing that jumped out at you,"
Porter said. "It's amazing we only lost by three."
^Notes@: Bucks guard T. J. Ford, who has missed the entire season
with a spinal cord injury, was cleared Wednesday to return to
workouts. He can start running, lifting weights, and shooting on
Saturday. ... Smith returned to the Bucks starting lineup after
missing two games with a lacerated left pinky. ... Redd's first
3-pointer of the game was the 500th of his career. ... Boston won
three of four against Milwaukee to take the season series for the
first time since 1995-96.