Milwaukee, WI – Brandon Jennings buried the go-ahead 3- pointer late in the fourth quarter and the Bucks overcame a rough start to defeat the Celtics, 91-88, on Saturday.
Jennings finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Fresh off his first career triple-double, Larry Sanders scored a team-high 18 points, pulled down 16 boards and blocked five shots in the win for the Bucks, who won consecutive games against Boston for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
"Obviously we didn't start the game very well," said Bucks coach Scott Skiles, whose team fell behind 17-0 before they scored a point. "But we fought our way back, gained a little momentum going into halftime and after that start, overall we played a pretty good game."
Monta Ellis shot just 6-of-20, but tallied 17 points, seven assists and two steals in the victory. Ersan Ilyasova added 15 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Without suspended point guard Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry filled his role with 15 points and 11 assists, but Terry and Paul Pierce both missed from downtown with a chance to tie the game on Boston's final possession. Pierce scored a game-high 19 points and also had six assists in the loss.
In a fourth quarter that featured six lead changes, Pierce drained a 3-pointer to break a tie and put Boston ahead 88-85 with 1:44 remaining.
An exchange of turnovers gave the ball back to the Bucks and Ellis fed Sanders underneath the hoop for an uncontested dunk, pulling them to within one with under a minute remaining.
Ilyasova then grabbed the rebound off a Pierce miss, and following a timeout, Jennings caught the inbound pass and buried a wide-open look from three to give the Bucks a two-point edge with 24 seconds left.
Terry looked to answer Jennings' three with one of his own, but it clanked off the rim and into the hands of Sanders. The Celtics fouled him and after sinking the first free throw, his second rimmed out.
Jeff Green grabbed the board and gave the Celtics a chance to tie the game, but Pierce and Terry each missed long triples and the Bucks held on for the victory.
"I thought both teams hung in there. They made some big shots and we missed some," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It's always going to be a make-miss league."
Boston dominated the first quarter and tallied the first 17 points of the game. Courtney Lee scored nine in the opening quarter on 4-of-5 shooting, while fellow backcourt mate Jason Terry dropped in seven to help the Celtics out to a 27-11 lead.
But Milwaukee stormed back in the second, shooting 63.6 percent for the quarter. Ilyasova drained two 3-pointers and Jennings scored seven to help the Bucks pull within 48-47 at half.
The teams went back and forth in the third until Terry broke a 60-60 tie with a trey before Green and Lee each scored on layups to cap a 7-0 spurt. However, the Bucks drew even by the end of the period on a pair of Ellis free throws.
The Bucks beat the Celtics in their season opener, giving them back-to-back victories over Boston for the first time since 4/4/07 and 4/13/07 ... Luc Mbah a Moute made his season debut and scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds ... The Celtics came in as winners in 15 of the last 19 contests against the Bucks.