The Boston Celtics were glad to be back in Boston after a long west coast road trip and flexed their defensive prowess on the Bulls in a convincing 100-80 win in front of the home crowd. Isaiah Thomas led the scoring with 22 points on 9 for 14 shooting (4 of 8 from three) and he didn't even play in the 4th quarter. Avery Bradley had himself a game scoring 17 points on 7 of 16 shooting (3 for 3 from three) to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 steals as he showed why he's considered one of the best defenders in the NBA.
For Chicago Jimmy Butler was a non-factor, scoring 5 points on 2 of 11 shooting and Denzel Valentine and Bobby Portis led the team with 13 points a piece. The Bulls were never able to recover after going down early in the game they just couldn't dig themselves out of the hole.
The game started about as good as the Celtics could have hoped, as they jumped out to a 10-0 run over the first 4 minutes prompting a Chicago timeout. The Bulls, on the other hand, missed their first 10 field goal attempts:
And another attempt to score was thwarted by Amir Johnson in the paint:
Amir Johnson says NO! pic.twitter.com/D23F8GEi13— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 12, 2017
Dwyane Wade broke the scoreless start by knocking down an open jumper with 6:05 to go in the quarter, and after a Bulls steal on the ensuing Celtics possession Jimmy Butler thought he was about to make it back-to-back baskets but Avery Bradley made it not so:
AB with the chase-down block on Butler! pic.twitter.com/YFwee4XCMY— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 12, 2017
The Celtics defense continued to be staunch, holding the Bulls to 9 points on 3 of 22 (13.6%) shooting and out-rebounding them 17-10. Thomas led the Celtics with 8 points and Jae Crowder, although he didn't register any buckets, pulled down 7 boards himself and the C's headed into the 2nd quarter up 22-9.
Bulls merely tie for lowest quarter by Celtics opponent this season. Indiana had a 9-point second against Celtics on Dec. 22.— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) March 12, 2017
The C's continued to roll in the 2nd, starting the quarter on 11-4 run that was capped off by this ridiculous fast break bucket between two defenders by Jaylen Brown:
Okay, Jaylen. pic.twitter.com/Mk74ak2kqy— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 12, 2017
With 2:53 to go in the 1st half, the Bulls had as many turnovers as they had made baskets, 9. The Celtics closed out the half with 20-point lead (46-26) lead by 10 points a piece from Thomas and Bradley, who also notched 3 first half steals including this snatch and trey as he picked Cameron Payne's pocket as he tried to bring the ball up the court:
Bradley picks Payne's pocket and drains the trey! 👌 pic.twitter.com/J5OEi4mkN0— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 12, 2017
The good times continued to roll for the C's at the start of the 2nd half as they fired off another 10-3 run to start the 3rd quarter as the Bulls continued turn the ball over and miss shots. It was the Celtics offense that shined though at the start of the half as the hit 4 of their first 5 shots and moved he ball like a well oiled machine.
Crowder continued to ball out on the boards, as he collected his 10th rebound of the night he dialed up Bradley from long distance as he threw a TD pass as he was falling out of bounds that looked like an old school Brady-to-Moss bomb we used to see at Gillette Stadium:
The Cleveland Browns just called Danny Ainge about Jae Crowder.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) March 12, 2017
The Celtics led by as many as 30 in the 3rd but a 15-4 run from the Bulls kept a glimmer of hope heading into the final quarter down 19, but after hitting the 1st bucket of the 4th the Bulls were hit with back-to-back threes from Brown and Al Horford.
The TD Garden crowd got so restless midway through the 4th with a 20 point lead that the wave started, and the Celtics' bench joined in:
Add that to the things I've never seen before. The Celtics closed out the game for a 100-80 win, and their star scorer never had to take the floor in his favorite quarter. The C's get a couple of days off before facing off with the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night in Boston.
Photo Credit - Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 3/12/2017 05:49:00 PM Tweet Edit