BOSTON -- Somehow, the Bucks escaped with a win over the Celtics Friday night.
They were playing with a pair of banged-up guards. They turned the ball over 23 times. They missed 14 free throws. After trailing by 10 in the first half, they failed to hold a seven-point lead in the final 40 seconds. And they even blew a four-point lead with 1:10 left in overtime.
But they won 99-94 ending the Celtics' five-game home winning streak and sending Boston to its fourth loss in the last five games.
"We dodged a bullet," guard Brandon Jennings said in the relieved locker room after the game. "Just for myself ... I was so upset ... Just the fact that I didn't take care of the ball toward the end of the stretch. Usually I'm really good with the ball down the stretch. I had some costly turnovers. It kind of bothered me a little bit, but I had a short memory and I knew I had to make those two free throws for us to get out with the win."
He did make two free throws, with 18.5 seconds left in overtime. But he missed two free throws with his team ahead by five and 32.3 seconds left in regulation. Jeff Green scored at the other end and Jennings turned the ball over with the clock running down.
Jason Terry, who suffered through a 1-for-15 night and was 1-for-9 from 3-point range, missed a three, but Milwaukee's Mike Dunleavy slapped the rebound out and right to Paul Pierce. Pierce, who followed Wednesday's 40-point game with 35, nailed a three with 2.5 seconds left and the comeback in regulation was complete.
Milwaukee then scored six straight points, four by Monta Ellis to take a four-point lead in overtime, but the Celtics came back again, tying it at 94-94 with 36.1 seconds left.
Ellis drove and was fouled with 27.5 on the clock. He made the first and missed the second, Ersan Ilyasova tapping the rebound back out to Ellis.
A subsequent foul put Jennings on the free-throw line where he sank both, but the Celtics weren't done. Pierce fired up a 3, but Larry Sanders got a hand on it and wound up putting the exclamation point on the win with a dunk.
Sanders, who had had the two biggest games of his career against the Celtics, entered the fourth quarter with six points and seven rebounds. He finished with 17 points, one point off his career best, a career-high 20 rebounds (his old high was 16 against the Celtics earlier this season) three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
"I enjoy playing against KG," Sanders said referring to Kevin Garnett, who went an uncharacteristic 6-for-22 from the floor, but did have a tying jumper in overtime. "He's a real competitor. It feels like he's going to bring it all so it gets me mentally prepared to bring it all myself."
Sanders is averaging 4.8 points and 7.0 rebounds a games in 20 games against the rest of the NBA. He is averaging 13.8 points and 13.8 rebounds a game against Boston.
This was the Bucks' second win in as many tries in Boston this season and Milwaukee went 3-1 in the season series that is already over.
Both Jennings and Ellis were banged up in this game. But Ellis, coming off a 1-for-14 in a loss Wednesday night, led Milwaukee with 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Jennings had 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, Luc Mbah a Moute posted a season-high 20 points and six boards.
The Celtics, who dropped to 13-13, were 5-for-24 from 3-point range and were out-rebounded, 57-44.
Pierce, who also had 12 rebounds and five assists to go along with six turnovers, said, "I thought I got fouled" on the last shot, but added, "But you know, that's the way the game goes sometimes."
"Give the Bucks credit," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "They've beaten us three times. So they're the better team now. Maybe we'll play them later, which means playoffs, and we're a better team by then."
Boston's Green, who had 14 points and four steals off the bench, went down during the scramble for the key late rebound, catching an Ilyasova elbow as the Buck tipped the ball out. Green was down for several minutes and left with a towel held to his face. After the game, the report was he had a bruised cheekbone and chipped teeth.
NOTES: Rajon Rondo, who scored just six points (11 assists) in over 45 minutes, received a first-quarter technical foul after a get-together with Jennings before a timeout. "At one point, I thought we were going to go start fighting, but nobody wants to give up that money," Jennings said after the game. ... Both Jennings and Ellis were question marks, Jennings twisting an ankle Wednesday night, while Ellis missed the morning shoot-around with a sore back. The Bucks were already missing guard Beno Udrih, still out with a sprained ankle, and former Celtic Marquis Daniels played while hurting. ... Boston was missing guard Leandro Barbosa (personal reasons) and big man Chris Wilcox (ankle, second straight game). The Celtics recalled guard Kris Joseph from the D-League. ... The Celtics start a four-game road trip at Brooklyn Tuesday and then head west to face the Clippers, Warriors and Kings. The Bucks open a three-game homestand Saturday night against the Cavaliers and also host the Nets and Heat ... Jason Collins, making his second start as a Celtic (and again failing to take a single shot, this time in 15 minutes), extended holiday wishes to the crowd before the opening tap.