The Celtics were playing in Milwaukee on Saturday without Rajon Rondo, who was serving the second game of his two-game suspension for starting the altercation with the Nets’ Kris Humphries on Wednesday.
Boston won the first without Rondo in blowout fashion over the Blazers on Friday, and was on pace to do it again after getting out to a 17-0 lead to start the game in Milwaukee on Saturday.
But the Bucks came back, and the game was tight down the stretch. With the Celtics leading by one with 30 seconds to play, Milwaukee moved the ball until it found Brandon Jennings, who was as wide open as you’ll ever see in that situation before he knocked down the three-pointer that sealed the win for the Bucks.
Milwaukee as a team was just 3-of-12 from three-point distance before that final one from Jennings, although he was 2-of-4 from downtown himself, so Boston may have wanted to take its chances with Marquis Daniels launching the shot there instead. Just sayin’.
TNT to cover NBA games with only former players, no traditional play-by-play men
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.