|Fast break: Celtics-Bulls||10.30.09 at 10:31 pm ET|
The Celtics did it with defense and the bench in the first half and then they buried the Bulls under a 3-point barrage in the second half in a 118-90 win win. While the Celtics pushed the lead into the 30′s in the third quarter, this game was essentially over early. The Bulls shot just 5-for-20 in the first quarter and 29 percent in the first half.
The Celtics are now 3-0 and looking very much like the best team in the league.
Player of the game: Paul Pierce. You could make a case for Kevin Garnett (16 points, four rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (16 assists, eight rebounds) as well, but Pierce was solid throughout racking up 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Turning point: At the 4-minute mark of the second quarter Garnett joined Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins on the bench with two fouls. The Celtics had a 15-13 lead at the time. Over the next 10 minutes the second unit (and Pierce) built the lead up to 14 points, 35-21, and the Bulls never got back in the game. It was a slow, methodical dissection built entirely on defense.
* The Celtics made their first six 3-pointers of the second half, including four from Pierce. The 3-point barrage was just the icing on the cake for the C’s. Even though they made just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half they still shot an even 50 percent from the floor. They said after the Charlotte game that they had not played a complete game yet. Wonder if they still feel that way.
* It’s a little unfair to say that this is how the first round of the playoffs would have gone last year if Garnett had been healthy. After all, Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels are now in the mix and the Bulls are without Ben Gordon and are trying to work Luol Deng back into the lineup. Also, Derrick Rose is dealing with an ankle injury. All that said, it’s probably a safe bet that the series wouldn’t have gone seven games
* Allen moved past John Stockton for 33rd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Somehow seems odd to pass Stockton on any list that has to do with scoring.
* With about two minutes left in the game, Doc Rivers emptied the bench to play out the final string. Joining the five before they took the floor was Wallace who was dispensing advice to rookie Lester Hudson.
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