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  • Milwaukee arrived in Boston late last night after a hard fought 119-118 win over the Washington Wizards, capped by a putback from Ersan Ilyasova with five seconds remaining. With the win, the Bucks are just 2 1/2 games behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. According to head coach Scott Skiles, it has to start with an improvement to the defense. “Our defense has been bad. We’re off the page in many games. We got three teams coming up here in a row that if we are off on the defensive end, we are going to be in trouble,” Skiles explained.
  • Drew Gooden will be a game-time decision for Milwaukee after leaving last night’s game in the third quarter after a hard foul. Luc Mbah a Moute will also be out after injuring his left shoulder against Washington. Stephen Jackson is not with the team as he rests his strained right hamstring back in Milwaukee. He could be out for up to two weeks.
  • Jermaine O’Neal will miss his third straight game for Boston with a lingering left wrist injury and there is no timetable on his return after seeing a hand specialist today. “He saw an hand expert today,” Doc Rivers said. “I haven’t talked to trainer Eddie [Lacerte] about it, but he’s out tonight.”
  • The C’s will stick with their new-look starting lineup with Brandon Bass at the power forward spot and Kevin Garnett shifting to center for the second straight night. The lineup could become a regular fixture for Boston as Rivers admitted he was considering switching the starting five even before O’Neal’s injury. “I like this lineup. I was thinking about doing it regardless. We got out to a great start last night, we just couldn’t sustain it [against Cleveland],” Rivers admitted.
– Brian Robb

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