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Garnett, Celtics pound Bucks without Ray Allen

Mar 16, 2008 - 5:35 AM By Nick Berenz PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett scored 19 points and Paul Pierce added 13, but both were on the bench at the end of the game as the Boston Celtics cruised to a 99-77 victory over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

The Celtics, who rebounded from a 110-92 loss to Utah on Friday, were without All-Star guard Ray Allen, who spent seven seasons in Milwaukee. Allen suffered an ankle injury in Friday's loss but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he expects Allen back "real soon."

Allen's absence mattered little against Milwaukee (23-43), which has the third-worst record in the league.

The Celtics, who lead the league in opponent field-goal percentage, held the Bucks to just 34 percent (28-of-82) shooting from the floor.

"We got kicked (Friday), it was a no-brainer how we had to come out (Saturday)," Garnett said. "It was nice to play good defense for 48 minutes."

Eddie House had 17 points off the bench for Boston, which clinched the Atlantic Division on Friday thanks to a loss by Toronto.

"This was a good win for us, the guys came out with great spirit," Rivers said. "It was great defensive intensity even to the last shot, which was great."

Michael Redd scored 15 points for Milwaukee, which has lost five straight for the first time since March 21-April 3 of last season.

The Bucks were without center Andrew Bogut (deep thigh bruise) and had no inside presence to deal with Garnett, who shot 5-of-8 from the floor in 27 minutes.

"Andrew's been an anchor for us and is our best team defender," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "When the offensive side is that hard, it makes it tough to get the energy on the other end."

While Krystkowiak said he expects Bogut to return to the lineup later this week, Rivers was glad Bogut was out.

"It was nice," Rivers said. "He's big and he's physical. I think Bogut has been playing terrific basketball. You look at them, and they don't have Bogut and they don't have Yi (Jianlian) so you have to try and take advantage of that."

Boston, which kicked off a five-game road trip, led 53-35 at halftime and expanded the lead to as many as 23 points in the third quarter.

"We realized that Utah lost to Milwaukee a few days ago, so we didn't take this team lightly," Pierce said. "We buckled down on defense. It was a great way to start the road trip."

Charlie Bell finished with 16 points for Milwaukee, which had just three players in double figures in scoring.

"The rhythm was just off tonight," Bell said. "We had Mo (Williams) coming back with his first game. It's hard to get shots. You have to give (the Celtics) credit. They're the best team in the NBA right now. Offensively, they make you guard people and, defensively, they get into guys. They're a great defensive team."

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