(Reuters) - Ten-time all-star Paul Pierce stepped up late in the game to help the Boston Celtics grind out a hard fought 96-92 away victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday.
Having lost to the Bucks eight days earlier, the Celtics dished out a little payback with Pierce notching up nine rebounds and 25 points, including a clutch run of baskets late in the fourth quarter, to improve the side to 3-3.
“It was just ball movement. (Rajon) Rondo’s penetration really opened up things, I was able to knock down some shots, I think we spread the floor pretty good,” Pierce said of his side’s last quarter comeback.
“We put Rondo in the middle and let him create and we shared the ball.”
Rondo had 10 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, taking his streak of games with 10 or more assists to 30, the third-longest streak in NBA history.
Magic Johnson has the longest streak at 46 games from April 1983 to February 1984.
Fellow Celtics Kevin Garnett (18 points) and Jason Terry (15 points) were also heavily involved, with Garnett matching Pierce with some important late buckets, while the Bucks were left to rue a lack of accuracy from the majority of the squad.
“What was nice is every guy took the shot in their spot,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters.
“That’s something we talked about. I want guys to shoot any time they get it as long as it’s their shot and their spot. I’ll have to watch the film and find out why in the last eight minutes it happened.”
The home side Bucks led by four at three-quarter time and despite having a hefty possession advantage all night were unable to close the deal.
Monta Ellis top-scored with 32 points but Milwaukee made under 40 percent of their field goals and only 15 percent of three-pointers to fall to 3-2 for the year.
Brandon Jennings, who scored 21 points and added 13 assists in the November 2 game, shot just one of 11 in the rematch.
Reporting By Ben Everill in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty