for this game

Boykins stars as Bucks dump injury-riddled Celtics

Apr 5, 2007 - 6:44 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- In a game with little star power, the smallest guy on the floor stepped up.

Earl Boykins scored 12 of his 32 points in the third quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 98-89 victory over the limping Boston Celtics.

Charlie Bell had 25 points and Ruben Patterson added 21 and 12 rebounds for the Bucks, who were playing without leading scorers Michael Redd and Mo Williams because of matching left knee pain.

"The big thing for us is just to get the victory," Boykins said. "We've been struggling as of late and any win is big for this team right now."

"I think we needed it, it's been a little bit of a dry spell," said Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We were shorthanded, I'm really proud of the guys, they found a way to get it done, it was fun."

Milwaukee had already been without Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva after both starters were shut down for the season with injuries on March 21.

"It's crazy right now," Bell said. "I'm thinking the last game of the season we might be down to five players, two cheerleaders. It's a difficult situation with all the injuries. All I know is I'm going to do my best to be out there."

Despite being without its starting backcourt, Milwaukee had no problems with the second unit, as Boykins and Bell combined to shoot 23-of-38 (61 percent), including 7-of-10 on 3-pointers.

"It's a difficult spot but it's an opportunity to take advantage of the minutes," Boykins said. "I was able to get into a rhythm and take advantage of what the (defense) was giving us."

The Celtics were also severely shorthanded, as leading scorer Paul Pierce and top inside threat Al Jefferson did not travel with the team. Pierce missed his third straight game with a sore left elbow while Jefferson was out with a left knee injury that he aggravated in practice on Thursday.

The situation for Boston got worse when guard Delonte West went down with a sprained left ankle midway through the third quarter. He finished with 10 points.

"Delonte's not bad though," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "It is swollen, but he'll play Friday. We have no choice, he almost has to play. Honestly, we don't have another guy, we're not going to get another guy."

Without the stars around, both teams remained close until Boykins spearheaded a decisive run.

With the score tied at 67-67, Boykins hit a layup with 5:29 remaining in the third, starting a 16-5 spurt that bridged into the fourth. Boykins also had a 3-pointer during the run, extending the advantage to 79-72 with 47 seconds left in the third.

"E (Boykins) killed us, he's a crafty little dude," Rivers said. "I am glad to see him still doing well, we were just running out of gas (on him)."

Bell, who bounced back from a scoreless outing on 0-of-5 from the field in Tuesday's 119-101 loss to New Orleans, capped the burst with two free throws for an 83-72 advantage with 10:03 to play.

Boykins, Bell and Patterson were the only players in double figures for Bucks, who shot 48 percent (38-of-79), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers.

Boston, which lost for the fifth time in its last six road games, got no closer than five points thereafter.

Rookie Rajon Rondo scored 16 points and Allan Ray and Kevinn Pinkney added 15 each for the Celtics, who shot 37 percent (34-of-91), including 4-of-16 on 3-pointers.

Pinkney was signed from Bakersfield of the D-League earlier in the day. The 6-10 forward proved to be one of the few bright spots for Boston, shooting 5-of-7 in 21 minutes off the bench.

"He (Pinkney) fired the whole team up," Rivers said. "That was a smile moment, one of the few in the game."

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