Gritty fourth quarter showcases defensive effort, C’s win Bucks 96-92.

The first half was pretty awful, so here’s highlights of the second half, courtesy of MrTripleDouble at Red’s Army.

The game was largely a grind. Samuel Dalembert looked like Shaq in the paint with his endless dunks with the ongoing problem of poor P&R defense. Fortunately, the Bucks’ lead was kept within striking distance thanks to their horrible three point shooting (3 for 19 3P FG%, 15.8%). The tide began to turn when the Bucks bigs went into foul trouble late game (Dalembert, Sanders), reducing the second chance shots. A huge defensive surge in the fourth quarter with the Celtics scrambling on defense with newfound energy, Green’s sudden aggressive efforts (including a chasedown block!) and the late game free throw parade with KG’s final two FTs sealed the win.

The Truth returns
PP led the team with 25 points, excellent hustle and energy throughout the game. It finally feels like the Truth is back in full form.

Bass time
Good hustle effort from both Bass and Wilcox. When Bass is under the board with the ball, only one of two things will happen: he dunks, or he pump fakes until he’s ready to get fouled and take free throws. He’s thinking too much on the outside though, has not found the balance between taking the shot and driving, choosing to drive too many times.

Wilcox’s energy
Good things happen when Wilcox is on the court. His energy and hustle brings movement, and Rondo is always ready to find the cutting Wilcox for an easy basket, regardless of whether it’s on half-court or transition. He’s not a shooter, but damn does his presence make a difference. Now if only he can set a solid screen, it’ll all be perfect.

JET getting settled in
Jason Terry made good on his presence as a starter, scoring when needed and taking his shot not only from the three line. 15 points from a combination of shots, he looks to be more comfortable doing the catch and shoot routine now, although he still looks best taking his shots off the dribble.

Ticket’s consistency
KG keeps it up with 18 points and 6 boards, consistent shooting option. He made two clutch free throws that put the game away for good, ending the flurry of fouls and trips to the line for botched shooting by everyone else.

Rondo’s near-injury
Rondo had problems getting it started at the game, but capped it off with some smart fouls in the fourth quarter, giving the fouls before any desperation three could be made by the Bucks. Two free throws wins a three pointer any day, especially with a fragile lead. He banged his knee with Dalembert (who shuffled his knee into Rondo after setting a pick), but seemed to be moving with no problems.

Trivia: Rondo continues his double digit assist streak with 10 dimes.

The ghost of C’s defense
This is one of the two big takeaways from the game: the return of something that looks like C’s defense in Q4. The fix for the recent abysmal pick and roll defense turns out to be switching and manic energy on help defense. This allowed the lead to be taken in the final quarter and maintained until the whistle blew.

Green’s resurgence
The other big plus in this game: everyone back on the Green bandwagon! Jeff Green made several big baskets with the aggression that was seen in preseason. Nothing definite at this point, but it’s certainly heartening to see Green getting back into his game.


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