April 14, 2007
At halftime, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Sharman, Frank Ramsey, Arnie Risen, Togo Palazzi and Jim Luscotoff were honored for a major milestone - the 50th anniversary of the Celtics' first NBA title.
They were greeted by a roller-skating leprechaun mascot, a state-of-the-art sound and video system, a glittering dance team in high-heeled boots and two Frisbee-chasing dogs that spent a little too much time on the floor before the legends were finally shoehorned into a brief presentation at the end of the intermission.
A lot has changed in 50 years, not all of it for the better.
Asked who would win in a pick-up game - the seven honorees or the nine somewhat healthy players he sent into the game last night - Doc Rivers was only joking when he said, ``Them.''
One can only wonder what this knighted group thought while watching its once-great franchise scrap with an equally anonymous Bucks team and the league's second-worst record on the line.
The Celtics ultimately took care of the ugliest business in this loser-takes-all game with a 104-102 loss that sealed their hold on the second-worst record in the league - and thus the second spot in the draft lottery - at 23-56.
Leon Powe, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, nearly sent this one in the other direction. Delonte West, playing for the first time in five games since suffering an ankle sprain on April 4 in Milwaukee, scored 13 points.
The Celtics, who fell behind by as many as 13, finally produced their best run of the game with a 6-0 burst that cut Milwaukee's lead to four (84-80) with 10:38 left.
Getting closer became a problem.
With 6:29 left, they fell back into a 10-point hole (93-83) when Ersan Ilyasova hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-1 Milwaukee run.
The Celtics finally rallied late, cutting the margin back to four (101-97) on a Powe drive and then to two on the power forward's tough hoop in traffic.
Earl Boykins' 19-footer pushed the Bucks' lead to 103-99 with 1:16 left. The Celtics freed up three shots on the next possession, but Gerald Green (twice) and Sebastian Telfair to miss from 3-point range. The Bucks, now leading 104-99 after a Ruben Patterson free throw, were able to withstand Powe's wheeling three-point play.
Though Bucks guard Lynn Greer turned the ball over on a bad pass, the Celtics spent too much time trying to find a shot with 10 seconds left, ending up with Telfair's 3-point miss at the buzzer.
Big Al iffy
Forward Al Jefferson didn't play last night but plans to travel with the team this weekend to Orlando, Fla., (tomorrow) and Miami (Monday) with the hope of playing.
``The season might run out before we make up our minds,'' said Rivers, whose team has only three games left. ``If he doesn't make it back for one of the next two games, then that will be it, though.''