Fast Break: Celtics’ slump continues with loss to Bulls
|01.02.14 at 10:34 pm ET|
The Celtics‘ swoon continued on Thursday night in Chicago, as Boston fell to the Bulls, 94-82, on the road for the team’s fifth loss in six games.
The C’s (13-19) struggles come at an inopportune time as they now face six straight Western Conference teams including four red-hot teams in the Trailblazers, Warriors, Thunder and Clippers.
Chicago was led by Joakim Noah, who nearly recorded a triple-double with a team-high 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Carlos Boozer (16 points) led five other Bulls in double digits.
Jordan Crawford paced Boston with 22 points and seven assists. Jared Sullinger produced a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE CELTICS
Sloppy start: The Celtics committed six turnovers in the first quarter. This sloppiness led to a 24-21 deficit for the team in the first 12 minutes, and marked only the second time in the last eight games that Boston trailed after one quarter. All six giveaways were credited to the Celtics‘ starters, as every member of the starting lineup was credited with at least one turnover. Boston’s sloppiness with the basketball was not necessarily isolated to the first quarter as it committed 19 turnovers.
3-point struggles: The uninspired 3-point shooting game of the Celtics came to a nadir on Thursday night as they nearly failed to make a single three. Boston missed all but two of its 12 attempts from beyond the arc, and it took the team 46 minutes of game time to register a triple. The Celtics, who have not relied on the 3-pointer all season, shot just 5-of-29 from downtown in their previous game.
Green slumps: If the Celtics hope to end their recent struggles, the first step is getting forward Jeff Green back on track. Green, who leads the team in scoring, struggled again on Thursday, and his recent slump has coincided — likely not by chance — with Boston’s slump. In the Celtics‘ last eight games, five of which ended in losses, Green’s averaged just 11.4 points per game and has shot over 45 percent from the field just once.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE CELTICS
Battle of the boards: When the Bulls and Celtics faced off on Thursday, a potential recipe for disaster was brewing. Boston, a below-average rebounding team, would need to contest with one of the NBA’s most lethal front line in the league. Chicago boasts the sixth-best rebounding team in the league, based on rebound differential per game, but the Celtics went beyond containing the Bulls on the glass and in fact, Boston outrebounded its opposition 48-41, thanks to a huge effort on the offensive side of the ball. The Celtics grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, with Sullinger leading the way with six.
Crawford: In Boston’s most recent loss, a heartbreaking loss to the Hawks riddled with negative takeaways, Crawford’s lack of production and his putrid inefficiency might have trumped all the disappointments. Crawford had one of his worst games in a Celtics uniform, collecting just eight points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field and 1-of-7 from the 3-point line against the Hawks. But the third-year guard point recollected himself and tossed in a team-high 22 points, and used on 11 shots to get there.