On Wednesday, Paul Pierce had some fiery flashbacks to his youth, going for 40 points on the kind of economical shooting (13-for-16) that built his reputation when he was a mere kid.

Last night, he made a drive down a different side of that same memory lane — the one where he was a lone star in a blue state. After leading the Celtics to a victory over Cleveland, Pierce was forced to be great against Milwaukee. On an evening when Jason Terry made just 1-of-15 shots and Kevin Garnett hit but 6-of-22, he had 35 points and — remember the late '90s? — a loss.

Pierce got the game to overtime with a late 3-pointer, but he couldn't prevent his nearsighted club from falling to Milwaukee, 99-94.

"Yeah, I mean, when everybody's not making shots, you're looking for whoever is making shots," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "And I thought Paul had to work way too hard for his shots. (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) is a heck of a defender."

Yet Pierce was still able to squeeze in 13 of his 23 shots from the floor while the rest of his mates were a combined 23-for-71 (32.4 percent). He also found time to pull down a team-high 12 rebounds, with five assists and three steals.

Not bad for a 35-year-old.

And he might still have been playing instead of speaking to the media if a call had gone Pierce's way with five seconds left in the extra inning. With yet another chance to erase a three-point deficit, he had his shot interrupted by Larry Sanders.

"I thought I got fouled on it, but, you know, that's the way it goes sometimes," he said. "The ref didn't see it that way."