MILWAUKEE — Paul Pierce wishes the Celtics could play like they did against the Bucks every night. Rookie Brandon Jennings already wants another shot at the bullies from Boston with more on the line.

Pierce scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half Saturday night and the Celtics beat Milwaukee 105-90 without Kevin Garnett, pushing the Bucks around in the process.

“It was a big win. I wish we could come out like this every night,” Pierce said. “We have to get some momentum going as we head into the playoffs.”

After a rough-and-tumble game in Milwaukee last month, this one featured more pushing and shoving late and could be a sign of things to come in a first-round matchup in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Bucks Coach Scott Skiles was ejected, Celtics forward Glen Davis squared off with Kurt Thomas, and Jennings was inadvertently kicked between the legs in the fourth quarter.

“When the playoffs start it’s going to get crazy,” said Jennings, who scored 19 points. “It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait, just from the two games we’ve played them it’s going to be a fistfight.”

It almost seemed as if one was about to break out, but the teams aren’t guaranteed to meet yet. Boston will either be the third or fourth seed, and Milwaukee will be either the fifth or sixth.

The Bucks have the most sway in the situation, playing Atlanta on Monday and at Boston on Wednesday.

Down the stretch, Milwaukee missed Andrew Bogut, sidelined for the season by hand, wrist and elbow injuries.

“It is a big loss,” Pierce said. “He was having an All-Star season. He was a big part of what they did to turn their season around. No one expected them to be in the playoffs.”

Now the Celtics, who won for just the third time in the last eight, might have to deal with the Bucks in the postseason.

“Boston is like big bullies from school,” Jennings said. “A lot of teams don’t like that.”

If the Celtics want to make a run, they’ll need everyone to step up, and showed the Bucks they’re ready as Garnett rested to prepare.

“A couple technicals here, a couple of technicals there,” Pierce said. “Maybe we are setting up something for a week and a half.”

Pierce hit three straight baskets to give the Celtics an 88-81 lead with 3:32 to play before things turned sour.

Thomas grabbed two offensive rebounds, but felt he was fouled by Davis when he tried to drive and was hit on the head.

He got his revenge quickly, throwing Davis to the floor on the other end with 2:35 left and drawing a flagrant foul. Davis received a technical when he jumped up and bumped Thomas immediately.

On the next possession, Pierce and Stackhouse got tangled up. Stackhouse drew a foul, holding Pierce on the court.

The call enraged Skiles, who pointed at the officiating crew and said something that drew a double technical and an ejection as Boston sealed the win by hitting all 12 free throws after Thomas’ flagrant foul.

“I explained my side of it, although I don’t really have a side, there was no side,” Skiles said. “It happens.”


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