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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 21st (All times Eastern)

Milwaukee Bucks (13-11) at Boston Celtics (13-12), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It appears a return to Beantown is what the Boston Celtics needed to get their minds right.

The Celtics lost all three tests on a recent road trip and headed back to the New England area for a showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, when they disassembled the visitors by a 103-91 score behind a season-high 40 points from veteran Paul Pierce.

Pierce made 13-of-16 shots and also notched five assists and three steals for the Celtics, winners of five in a row at TD Garden. The Celtics are 9-2 as the host this season and got 20 points and eight assists from Rajon Rondo.

"For the most part, I just thought the ball movement was really good for our guys," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We shoot 60 percent, basically; a lot of good things are happening."

Boston made precisely 59.7 percent from the field and sank 9-of-17 3-pointers.

Pierce leads the Celtics with 20.4 ppg

After entertaining the Bucks, Boston will play four straight on the road against the Nets, Clippers, Warriors and Kings. The Celtics are winless in five straight on the road.

Milwaukee is a game behind Chicago for first place in the Central Division and has lost two of three games since winning four in row.

The Bucks dropped a 90-80 decision at Memphis the last time out on Wednesday as Brandon Jennings tallied 26 points and seven rebounds in defeat. Marquis Daniels was the only other Buck in double figures with 12 points. Monta Ellis wasn't much of a factor with four points in just under 35 minutes.

"We had a ton of open looks. We just missed them," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said after his team made 35.3 percent from the field. "We couldn't make a shot and we were only down nine at the half. It was tough."

Milwaukee made only 5-of-20 3-pointers and fell to 6-6 as the guest. It is still an impressive 11-5 against the Eastern Conference. Jennings has scored at least 13 points in 11 of his last 12 games.

After Milwaukee finishes its trek in Boston, it will return to the Bradley Center for a three-game homestand versus Cleveland, Brooklyn and Miami.

The Bucks have already beaten the Celtics twice in three tries this season, posting a 99-88 victory at TD Garden back on Nov. 2. Boston, though, has won seven of nine and 15 of the past 20 meetings between the teams.

12/21 10:30:51 ET