The Chicago Bulls continued their trail of success, handily beating the Boston Celtics, 111-97. It was an impressive showing from Chicago, as they now have a 2-0 series lead over the Eastern Conference’s number one seed, and momentum heading back home.
Chicago got off to a great start in the first quarter, opening up a 31-26 lead. Although the first seven points of the game went to the Celtics, Chicago turned it on, scoring 14 points in the paint. Isaiah Thomas was assessed his second technical foul of the young series, shoving Robin Lopez a little under two minutes into the game. It was a confusing situation as it looked like he slightly antagonized by Lopez, but he ended up with the punishment. Chicago also won the second quarter, outscoring Boston 23-20 and taking an 8-point lead into halftime. Rajon Rondo finished the half doing what he does, scoring eight points with seven rebounds and nine assists. Lopez and Nikola Mirotic ended the second frame with 10 points and six boards a piece. Thomas ended the half leading all scorers with 11, while Jae Crowder had nine.
The Celtics started out hot in the second half. Although they came out firing, Chicago managed to keep up. Even with Boston scoring 29 in the quarter, Chicago ended up taking a 86-75 into the fourth. The Bulls did not stop there. They won the fourth quarter as well, outscoring the Celtics by three. Rondo finished one rebound shy of a triple double, ending with 11 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. Jimmy Butler finished with 22 points, eight boards and eight assists. Dwyane Wade scored 22, while Lopez and Paul Zipser had 18 and 16 respectively. Isaiah Thomas scored only nine second half points, finishing with 20. Jae Crowder tacked on 16, while Marcus Smart had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
It is relatively clear that the death Isaiah Thomas’ sister is not only affecting him, but it is throwing off the mojo of the entire team. Boston is not the same team as the one that beat out the Cavs for the one seed. The Bulls are out rebounding the Celtics and protecting the ball much better. Three-point shooting, especially late in games, is also something Boston needs to improve upon, as they were 3-11 in the fourth quarter. The Bulls were 3-4 in that same stretch. Boston will have to spend the next few days game planning because they cannot afford to lose game 3 in Chicago.
Game three is in Chicago on Friday night. Tip-off at 8 PM EST on ESPN.
Baseline Times Staff Writer