MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks center Bob Lanier is not as upset with his club's two losses to the Boston Celtics as he is with the way they happened.
The Celtics dominated the Bucks in two games in Boston, easily winning the second Thursday night 125-110 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference championship series.
'It's not the losing I hate,' the veteran center said. 'It's not being competitive, that's the thing.'
The Bucks have had problems shooting during the series and Lanier said it is not just the stiff Boston defense. The Bucks hit just 40 of 90 shots from the field in the second game.
'We are playing with enthusiasm, but the balls are just not dropping. We've having trouble running our offense and that's part of the problem,' he said.
'Once we start shooting better, we'll start winning.'
The Bucks will return home Saturday to a sellout crowd of 11,052 in Game 3.
'Hopefully the guys will understand what happened and we'll be going back with our heads up high. If we don't win at home, it will be very hard to come back,' said Lanier.
Kevin McHale, who scored 24 points and was a key in Game 2 for the Celtics, said his teammates will also be full of enthusiasm.
'We've learned our lesson,' he said. 'We've got to go to Milwaukee and fight like crazy.'
McHale said he thinks the Bucks will play better in Game 3 but he thinks his club can keep winning.
'I have a lot of confidence in the team,' he said. 'The real Milwaukee Bucks have not shown up yet. We know this is a much better ballteam. We just hope we can go in and execute our same game plan.'
Larry Bird, who almost single-handedly defeated the New York Knicks in the Celtics' previous playoff series, is doing it again against the Bucks. But he said his team cannot letup against the Bucks.
'Against Milwaukee, you have to play every second of the game, and they can come back very quickly,' he said. 'They are not out of it by a lot of ways. We've only won two games, and that's only half way there.'
He said the third game could be pivotal.
'If they win the first, they will be right back in it,' he said.
Swing-man Junior Bridgman of the Bucks said the club is down, but not out of the playoffs just yet.
'We just didn't play well, we just didn't make the shots,' he said. 'There is no real reason to get down and lose confidence. We just have to go back and win in Milwaukee.'
Guard Sidney Moncrief, who has been checked by Dennis Johnson in the series, made a promise after Game 2: 'I'm going to try and make them work. We've had pretty good success against them in Milwaukee. I hope we will continue to have the same success.'
Bird said it could be a different scenario in Milwaukee.
'We've got to go there with the right frame of mind,' he said. 'The shots they missed here (Boston) they will be making there. We haven't shot well on the road either.'