|Bulls catch C’s at a ‘good time’||01.15.10 at 12:28 am ET|
Time after time this season, opposing head coaches have complained about their teams not responding to the physical challenge that is the Boston Celtics on the parquet.
Chicago’s Vinny Del Negro, who will always be associated with blowing a 35-point lead at Sacramento earlier this season, didn’t have to worry about his team’s toughness on Thursday night.
They went toe-to-toe with the Celtics, the same team that eliminated them last spring and came away with their first win in Boston in six tries, 96-83.
Whether it was Boston playing its fourth game in five nights, whether it was the Celtics being without Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett again or whether it was just Chicago playing its best road game of the season, the Bulls walked out of TD Garden with a win that will last much longer in their memory banks than the loss will stick with the Green.
Afterward, both sides talked about Da Bulls taking it to Da C’s.
|Fast Break: Celtics-Bulls||12.12.09 at 10:30 pm ET|
Another night, another city, another Celtics victory.
The Celtics have played a dozen road games so far this season and they have left town with a victory eleven times. The only time the C’s suffered a defeat on the road was four weeks ago to the day in Indiana. There was no danger of a repeat performance in a 106-80 win over the Bulls on Saturday, and not just because the Celtics have figured out the road game better than every other team in the NBA.
In Chicago, the Celtics not only caught a team playing the second night of a back-to-back, with the night before going to overtime. They also caught a Bulls team in crisis mode. The double digit losses are mounting and it may only be a matter of time before the Bulls start looking for a new coach.
Credit the Celtics with doing what they needed to do and continuing their winning ways on the road, but the Bulls are in big trouble.
Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. The Celtics point guard has been playing his best basketball of the season and he continued his run with 16 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Every time Rondo and Derrick Rose match up has the potential to be a special occasions, but at this point in their careers, Rondo is clearly the superior player.
Turning Point: If the Bulls were going to make it a game, they needed to make a stand to start the second half. Instead they degenerated in a morass of turnovers, bad shots and shoddy defense. Game over.
* Brad Miller got a little payback on Rondo early in the first quarter when he collared Rondo on a drive to the basket and threw him to the ground, getting a flagrant foul in the process. Rondo had whacked Miller across the face during the playoffs last season, drawing blood. To Rondo’s credit he continued to attack the middle of the Bulls defense.
* Later in the game Miller got into it a little bit with Kendrick Perkins with the duo getting called for a double foul after Miller hooked perk and Perk flipped him to the ground.
* Paul Pierce took a bit of a beating. He hurt his right shoulder in the third quarter and then banged knees with Luol Deng later in the quarter. Pierce stayed in, and showed yet again why he is one of the toughest players in the league, but the Celtics can ill afford to be without Pierce while Marquis Daniels rehabs from surgery.
* The Celtics bench played very well in the first half and increased the lead while the starters were getting a rest. Vinny Del Negro on the other hand worked his starters big minutes one night removed from an overtime win over the Warriors. The second half was fairly predictable.
* Without Daniels, the Celtics don’t really have a second ballhandler. They can get away with it for a while, particularly against teams like Chicago that don’t pressure guards, but Daniels’ loss will be felt at some point.
* All five starters scored in double figures as did Wallace and Eddie House.
|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.
|A ‘completely extraordinary’ series||05.03.09 at 1:32 am ET|
Ray Allen has a way with words, even after it seemed every superlative had been used to describe the seven-game marathon struggle that finally ended Saturday night with a 109-99 Celtics win over the Bulls in Game 7 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
“Completely extraordinary,” Allen said. “I’ve had friends all over the world watch this series and people just commenting on how nerve-wracking this series was, how entertained they were, how excited they were to watch us play and how devastated they were in the losses.”
Before the game, Allen was asked how either team could summon the energy for a Game 7 after a record four of the seven games went to overtime.
“I just think the people watching it are more fatigued than we are playing it,” Allen said. “I’m looking up at people in the stands in Chicago and they’re tired and ready to go home. For anybody watching at home, you can’t take your eyes off the TV, people are up late at night.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Game 7: Third quarter update||05.02.09 at 10:12 pm ET|
After the Celtics rolled at the end of the first half, you knew the Bulls would come out with everything they had in the third. The Celtics were able to absorb the Bulls charge for the most part and take a 78-71 lead into the third quarter.
Things got a little heated as Rajon Rondo was fouled hard twice. First by Joakim Noah and then by Brad Miller who topped it off with a little shove. Neither play was ruled a Flagrant foul. For his part, Rondo picked up a technical foul after a timeout.
The Bulls are shooting just 41 percent but are staying in the game at the free throw line where they made all 10 of their free throws in the quarter and are 23-for-27 for the game.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Kendrick Perkins has four fouls. Rondo, Big Baby Davis and Brian Scalabrine have three fouls. For the Bulls, Miller has four fouls. John Salmons and Derrick Rose each have three.
The question we have before us is simple. Will this be the last 12 minutes of this series or will be go to overtime for the fifth time?
|Game 7: The return of the bench||at 9:30 pm ET|
So, who had the Celtics bench in the X-factor pool? In the first half the much-maligned reserve unit shot 6-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point range to score 18 points and completely turn the game around with their defensive energy, particularly from Stephon Marbury and Eddie House.
House picked up three steals and Marbury dogged Derrick Rose into having a scoreless quarter. The Bulls bench, namely Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich missed all five of their shots from the floor and have not been a factor.
Even Mikki Moore contributed with a timely charge, four points and two rebounds. The Bulls were 3-for-14 from the floor in the second quarter and that had a lot to do with the defensive effort from the second unit.
|Game 7: First quarter update||at 8:39 pm ET|
As Game 7 began to get under way the crowd was rocking and the Garden was electric. Not that it bothered the Bulls at all. Chicago came out strong building an 11-4 lead and taking a 27-23 lead after one quarter.
Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose combined for 20 points, while Joakim Noah grabbed seven rebounds. The Celtics, meanwhile, struggled at the outset and shot just 35 percent from the floor. Also of concern is the fact that Big Baby Davis and Brian Scalabrine each have two fouls.
But it wasn’t all bad news for the C’s, Paul Pierce got off to a decent start scoring seven points, while Kendrick Perkins continued his strong play inside with four points and five rebounds and did not commit a foul. Scalabrine also gave the Celtics a huge lift with five points. The pace is fast–the Celtics got up 26 shots–but they only had one turnover.
All things considered, the Celtics did well to get the margin down to four points, which is something Ray Allen talked about before the game. “(We need) to get good starts and finishes to each quarter,” he said. “That builds momentum.” Consider that task half completed.
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