for this game

Celtics breeze past Bucks

Apr 12, 2008 - 3:28 AM By Tony Lee PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- If the playoffs began tomorrow, you'd likely find no complaints from the Boston Celtics. They're ready.

Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 10 assists and four others scored in double figures as the Celtics gave their stars another quality postseason tuneup in a dominating 102-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen combined for 37 points for Boston (63-16), which locked up the top seed throughout the playoffs last week and has been in prep mode ever since.

"Our starters right now, even though they're not playing a lot of minutes ... they have a great rhythm right now and even though it's not a long rhythm, it's a very, very good rhythm and we just want to keep that going," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

The Celtics' reserves squandered a big lead in Milwaukee on Tuesday before pulling out an overtime win, but this one was over early.

Michael Redd scored 18 points for the Bucks (26-53), who have lost five straight and are assured of falling shy of 30 wins for the second straight season.

"There's a reason they've got the best record in the league," Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said of Boston. "I think it's pretty impressive even though they're going limited minutes that they're not really upsetting the flow of the game."

Rondo had 12 points and six assists in the first quarter, scoring back-to-back hoops and finding James Posey for a dunk all in the final 74 seconds as the Celtics opened up a 31-21 lead. They made 4-of-5 3-pointers in the second, including one by Pierce with 51 seconds to go in the first half that gave the hosts their first 20-point advantage.

An illness forced Rondo to leave Boston's loss in Washington on Wednesday, but he showed no effects Friday.

"Rondo knows how ill he was, seeing how he played tonight," Garnett said. "He's being superman. ... If you saw him two days ago, you would never think he would have played tonight."

The Celtics had 19 assists against just five turnovers in the first half.

The bulge reached a game-high 25 points on another 3-pointer by Pierce midway through the third and Milwaukee never got closer than 15 thereafter.

Boston was 10-of-20 from long range and matched a season high with 33 assists in becoming the fifth team in franchise history to record 63 wins. Each of its starters played between 22 and 25 minutes.

The Celtics visit the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday in a potential preview of a first-round matchup. The Hawks are closing in on their first playoff berth since 1999.

"Their arena is going to be loud and it is going to be a great test for us to see where we are at," Boston center Kendrick Perkins said.

Andrew Bogut had 14 points and rookie Ramon Sessions recorded a career-high 14 assists for the Bucks.

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