Zaza Pachulia is booed heavily every time he steps on the TD Garden floor. Boston basketball fans have long memories and recall his tussles with former Celtics star Kevin Garnett when Pachulia played for the Atlanta Hawks. Garnett wasn't in the building Friday night as the new-generation Celtics took the court, but Pachulia was still doing damage as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. The veteran center finished with a game-high 20 points and helped change the tone of the game as the Bucks stormed back from a 22-point deficit to claim a 105-98 victory before 18,624 fans. Pachulia and rookie point guard Nate Wolters sparked a 10-0 run to finish the game as Milwaukee (1-1) won its first regular-season game under coach Larry Drew. Power forward John Henson also had a huge block on a drive by Boston guard Courtney Lee in the final minute, leading to a layup by Pachulia that helped clinch it. "We need a guy to come in and play with physicality in the paint area, and that's who Zaza is," said Drew, who also coached him in Atlanta. "I thought that first half they just manhandled us in the paint. We got off to a little bit of a sluggish start in that third quarter, but the minute I put Zaza and John Henson in there, things did change." Pachulia hit all 10 of his free throw attempts and added four assists while playing 30 minutes off the bench. The Bucks' bench totaled 66 points as Drew went with a lineup of four reserves — Pachulia, Wolters, Henson and Khris Middleton — and veteran forward Caron Butler down the stretch. Butler also made a key play when he deflected the ball away from Gerald Wallace, leading to a fast-break chance for Wolters, who was fouled and hit both free throws for a 101-98 lead with 31.4 seconds left. "In the first half, to say we came out flat is an understatement," Butler said. "I thought Nate came in and was solid for us; John Henson did a great job. Khris was unbelievable. "And Zaza was doing it all. He can't jump over a sheet of paper but he knows how to use his body." Wolters contributed 14 points and six assists. The Bucks outscored the Celtics, 34-15, in the final quarter and 55-26 over the last 19 minutes after trailing, 72-50. Boston coach Brad Stevens was singing the praises of Wolters before the game, and the former South Dakota State star showed why. "It might just be because I'm a mid-major guy and he probably has a soft spot for me," said Wolters, referring to Stevens' successful experience as coach at Butler.
Bucks bench fuels 22-point comeback over Celtics
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Nov 2