<
>

Bucks get key win over Celtics; Pierce streak ends

BOSTON (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks gave themselves some more
breathing room in the race for a playoff spot.

Michael Redd scored 26 points, and the Bucks beat the Boston
Celtics 92-86 on Friday night.

"This is a big win for us," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said.
"There's no two ways about it. Boston's been playing well. We
needed a win in a bad way."

The Bucks extended their lead to 4½ games over the Celtics for
the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and
snapped a three-game losing streak.

"It helps our confidence out," said Redd, who scored 10 points
in the fourth quarter. "We had been down and lost a couple games
in a row. Tonight definitely gives us a boost."

The Chicago Bulls' loss on Friday night dropped them three games
behind the Bucks.

Paul Pierce scored 24 points and added eight assists for the
Celtics. It was only the second time in the last 15 games he failed
to reach 30 points.

"He's the engine -- when he plays well, they usually win," Redd
said.

With 13 seconds remaining and Boston trailing 88-85, Pierce had
a chance to tie the game with three free throws, but he only
converted one.

"To hold him under 30 is an accomplishment to begin with,"
Stotts said. "Our guys worked hard on him. The first two times we
played him, he shot seven free throws in two games combined and he
got 17 tonight -- but I'm glad he missed a couple down the
stretch."

Milwaukee trailed by as many as nine points, but came back to
tie the game at 68 in the third quarter on Jamaal Magliore's dunk.

The Celtics regained the lead and went ahead 76-70 on Brian
Scalabrine's 3-pointer, but the Bucks used a 10-3 run, culminated
with a reverse layup by Redd, to take a 80-79 lead.

"We needed this win," said Celtics guard Wally Szczberiak, who
scored 18 points. "This is a huge loss on our own floor. That's a
big swing game when you're chasing someone in the playoffs. We made
it harder on ourselves."

All five starters scored in double figures for the Bucks, who
won for only the third time in 10 games. Bobby Simmons scored 18
points and Magliore added 16. T. J. Ford and Andrew Bogut each
scored 11.

Ryan Gomes added 12 for the Celtics, who had won their last two
contests.

The Celtics used a 9-2 second-quarter run, highlighted by
Pierce's layup, to build a nine-point lead. They took a 46-39 lead
into halftime, paced by Pierce's 13 points.

Game notes
Celtics guard Delonte West missed his third straight game
with a strained right groin. ... It is the third time the Bucks
have swept the season series against the Celtics. They also did so
in 1970-71 and 1998-99. ... The Celtics are 8-5 since Gomes entered
the starting lineup. ... Pierce and the 76ers' Allen Iverson are
the only two players to score 15 points or better in every game
this season.