The margin for error between the eastern conference playoff contenders has been paper-thin through just over 20 games. Wednesday's 105-100 win by the Celtics over a very solid Chicago team put that parity on full display.
Early in the fourth quarter the game had featured 13 ties and 10 lead changes, the last of which the C's would hold onto by the grit of their teeth to close out the game after a 12-2 run.
That change of fortunes was led by Isaiah Thomas, who turned up the jets after a scoreless first half. He dropped nine of his 20 points in the final three minutes, but Jimmy Butler's determination kept the game close until the final seconds.
Butler shot 12 of 24 from the field (36 points), attacking Boston's defense towards the end of the fourth with incredible efficiency and aggressiveness, and nearly drew a foul on a three-pointer that could have changed the complexion of the game as Amir Johnson jumped into his shot fake. His foot was on the line though, and even as Chicago drew within two possessions time had grown too short for the comeback.
Boston drove off their balanced attack and defensive effort. The team forced 18 turnovers while drawing Chicago into misses on 10 of their 11 shots to open the fourth. The 30 point frame ultimately sealed the deal as the C's got double-figure games from Crowder, Johnson, Sullinger (7th double-double of the season), Bradley, Thomas, Turner, Olynyk, and Lee.
Evan Turner also threw down one of the team's best dunks of the year.
Next up the 13-9 Celtics head into one of the most anticipated games of the season, as the 23-0 Warriors and their 27 game win streak march into the Garden in eerily similar fashion to the 2012-2013 Heat, who came away from an all-time thriller in Boston that year with a win.
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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Bobby Manning 12/09/2015 10:48:00 PM Tweet Edit