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The Big Three were back to build a big lead, but the Boston Celtics' reserves coughed it up and had to come back in overtime for a 107-104 victory over Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Eddie House's 3-pointer gave Boston a lead with 1:29 left in overtime, and the Celtics held the Bucks scoreless the rest of the way — ensuring that they didn't squander what once had looked like an easy victory.
Boston has won seven straight.
After sitting out the Celtics' victory at Charlotte on Saturday, stars Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce lobbied coach Doc Rivers to play Tuesday night. Rivers originally wanted to get them another night of rest but relented.
Garnett scored 21 points, Allen had 11 and Pierce, who returned to the team after the birth of his daughter, had 14.
The trio played into the third quarter, leading the Celtics on a 14-4 run right after halftime — including a driving layup by Allen, a dunk by Garnett off Michael Redd's turnover, and seven points from Pierce on a jumper, layup and 3-pointer.
Pierce's 3-pointer with 7:26 left in the third quarter put the Celtics ahead 74-49.
Rivers took Garnett and Pierce out of the game with just under six minutes left in the third quarter, and Allen left the game with 2:57 left in the third. All three sat the rest of the way.
Milwaukee used 3-point shooting to rally against Boston's backups, tying the game with 4:09 left in regulation. But James Posey stole the ball from Bobby Simmons, drove for a layup and was fouled. Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak was called for a technical as he pleaded for a traveling call. House hit the technical and Posey hit the foul shot, putting Boston up 93-87.
Redd's layup later cut Boston's lead to 99-96 and Posey missed a pair of free throws, giving Milwaukee a chance to tie with 14.6 left. Simmons inbounded the ball to Redd, who dodged Tony Allen on a fake and hit a 3-pointer from the corner to tie.
Boston had one last chance to win in regulation, but House missed a 3-pointer.
Milwaukee had six players in double figures including Redd, who scored 25. The Bucks have lost three in a row and seven of their last nine.
This program aired on April 9, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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