Celtics

Celtics' strong second half beats Bucks, 89-83

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Celtics' strong second half beats Bucks, 89-83

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MILWAUKEE Nobody had any idea how Nenad Krstic would fit in with the Boston Celtics.

He was, after all, the "other" guy in the blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder that netted the C's Jeff Green.

Regardless of what many thought his role might be, Krstic is making a major impact for the Celtics.

He certainly did on Sunday as Boston rallied for an 89-83 win over the pesky Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee trailed 84-82 with the ball, but Brandon Jennings missed a wide-open base-line jumper.

Kevin Garnett grabbed the rebound.

Moments later, Garnett nailed a jumper that put the Celtics ahead, 86-82.

And in the game's closing seconds, Garnett came up with a blocked shot that sealed the victory.

Aside from Garnett's late-game heroics, it was the play of Krstic early on that proved instrumental in the Celtics extending their winning streak to five straight.

Krstic, who has started every game since being acquired by the Celtics, had 17 points along with 4 rebounds.

"He finishes so well and so much better than I knew," said coach Doc Rivers. "The guys are very comfortable with him."

Krstic being compared to Kendrick Perkins are inevitable. Perkins was the C's starting center, a job that now belongs to Krstic.

And while Perkins certainly had a way of impacting the game for the Celtics, the same can be said for Krstic.

Rivers recalled how Krstic handles a certain play where the big man pops out, and may be left open for a jumpshot.

Krstic took the shot and made it on Sunday.

"We've been running that play since I've been here," Rivers said. "That may be the first time that big has taken that shot. That was terrific to see. That makes that play even better, when you have a big that they can't sink in to take away Paul's post-up. If he can do that, that's going to make us really good."

Krstic said all of his Celtics teammates have been helpful, but Kevin Garnett's contributions have stood out.

"All credit goes to Kevin," Krstic told CSNNE.com. "He's accepted me from first day. KG has been like a mentor to me; on the court, showing me all the plays. Even on the court, he talks, helps me get in the right position on defense. He has been great to me."

Garnett says Krstic has caught on quickly to the Celtics' style of basketball.

"All it is, is hard work, commitment and some effort," Garnett said. "He's going to help us."

He did on Sunday in a game in which the Celtics starters and reserves were both out of sync early on.

In the fourth, the Celtics got a bunch of defensive stops and some timely shots, one of which was a 3-pointer by newly acquired Sasha Pavlovic that gave the Celtics a 72-65 lead, their largest of the game at that point.

Boston's play down the stretch was a far cry from how it started the game.

The Celtics fell behind 20-10, but reeled off 10 straight to tie the score.

Boston managed to take a slim 27-26 lead after the first quarter following a 3-pointer by Paul Pierce with 29 seconds remaining.

The second quarter was dominated by the Bucks as they pulled ahead by as many as 10 points.

Boston's problems were obvious -- turnovers.

The C's coughed up the ball seven times in the second quarter, which led to five points for the Bucks.

It wasn't necessarily the points that Milwaukee generated from Boston's mistakes.

More to the point was how those miscues disrupted the Celtics from getting into a good flow offensively.

Even with a slew of turnovers and poor play from both the starting unit and the patch-work bench -- Boston only had nine players suited up -- the C's were down by just six points at the half.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

That Celtics win streak was dope. Let’s map out an even longer one that probably won’t happen. 

Nobody’s actually expecting them to keep the pace they’ve established with their recently concluded run. Still, with 63 games remaining, there’s still time for the Celtics to have up to three win streaks of even longer than 16 games. So, because it’s the holidays and the holidays are all about positivity (fun move you’ve probably picked up from movies: You can say “the holidays are all about _____” and just put in whatever you want and it will work), let’s map out the next win streak. 

MORE CELTICS:

A big part of the Celtics’ 16-gamer (and get ready to say “duh”) is that they were better than a lot of the teams they beat. But they also beat one team that was without question better than them and beat a few teams that could certainly beat them on any given night. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of the 16 games: 

- Even if they didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, nine games were against what could be classified as easy prey based on their rosters and how those teams were playing: The 76ers, the Knicks, the Kings, the Hawks twice, the Lakers, the Hornets, the Nets and the Mavericks. 

- Let’s say that the Heat (whom they played and beat during the streak before Miami snapped the streak Wednesday) and Magic weren’t perceived pushovers, but rather unremarkable opponents. 

- Four games were against what one could call worthy opponents for the Celtics: the Bucks, the Spurs (though they were missing Kawhi Leonard), the Thunder and the Raptors. 

- Nobody was ever pretending the Celtics were actually better than the Warriors. 

So that breaks the 16 games into one game against an unequivocally superior opponent, four against worthy opponents, two against unremarkable teams, and nine joke books. 

Of course, there are several variables that can be thrown into that, such as the fact that the C’s beat one of the aforementioned good teams (Toronto) without Kyrie Irving and nearly lost to two of those trash teams (Charlotte and Dallas). You can’t predict injuries just like you shouldn’t predict win streaks, but let’s take all the information we have and try to find the next one:

STARTING FRIDAY

Friday vs. Magic (trash; probable win)

Saturday at Pacers (unremarkable; potential loss)

A back-to-back after a holiday with the second game on the road against a team that’s been way better than expected? I don’t like the sound of it. 

Nov. 27 vs. Pistons (worthy opponent; potential loss)

Are they overrated? Maybe, but Pistons currently hold the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Whether it’s the Pacers or the Pistons, I think this short stretch prevents a speed bump. The streak might have to wait. 

STARTING NOV. 30

Nov. 30 against Sixers (upgraded to unremarkable based on recent play; still win)

Remember: The last streak started against the Sixers. Hopefully, Kyrie pays that fans’ way to Boston for a halftime reunion. 

Dec. 2 vs. Suns (trash; win)

Dec. 4 vs. Bucks (worthy opponent; win)

Celtics aren’t losing to those sons of guns twice at home. 

Dec. 6 vs. Dallas (trash; win)

Can you get revenge on a team for almost beating you? Yes. The Celtics will. 

Dec. 8 at Spurs (worthy opponent; win)

Until I see Kawhi on the court, this one is a win. 

Dec. 10 at Detroit (worthy opponent; win)

The Pistons play the Spurs, Bucks and Warriors the three previous games. They’ll be all tuckered out. 

Dec. 11 through Dec. 23 (mix of unremarkable and trash opponents; seven wins)

Dec. 25 vs. Wizards (worthy opponent; win)

Terry Rozier becomes a household name with a Christmas performance for the ages. 

Dec. 27 at Charlotte (trash; win) 

Dec. 28 vs. Houston (worthy opponent; win) 

Dec. 31 vs. Brooklyn (trash; loss)

The Celtics are 0-1 the days prior to holidays this season. The streak ends at 18. 

THE REST OF THE SEASON

We'll assess it then, but for now, let's say undefeated (including playoffs).

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