The Boston Celtics started out game four of the first-round series the same way they did game 3: breaking out to a 14-4 lead. They did not stop there, as they took a 30-18 lead to end the quarter. Just like game 3, they started out strong which has been a crucial point for them to make over these last two games. Gerald Green, who recently found a spot in Boston’s starting lineup, started out hot with 8 points and 5 rebounds in the quarter. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Celtics lately, which has propelled them to early leads. Isaiah Thomas also had a hot start, scoring 10 points in the quarter. Jimmy Butler scored 11 for the Bulls, but he was the only bright spot as they shot 25 percent in the quarter and went 0-6 from three-point range.
The second quarter was much more of the same. The Bulls scored 28 points in the quarter, but the Celtics matched and went into the half with a 57-46 lead. For Boston, it was more Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green, who went into the half with 16 points apiece. Although they had no bench points in the first quarter, the backups provided them with 10 in the second. It was the same story for the Bulls, who received 12 points from their bench in the quarter. Nikola Mirotic scored 8 and the quarter, while Jimmy Butler went into the half with 17 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
The Bulls made a run in the third, but it did not last long as the Celtics still managed to take a 79-70 lead into the fourth quarter. Thomas had another good quarter, scoring 10 and dishing out 3 assists. Butler was the only offensive threat for the Bulls in the quarter, scoring 9 points with 4 assists. Chicago’s efforts to get back in the game were continuously thwarted off by Boston.
Entering the quarter down by 9 and trailing for most of the game, Chicago kept fighting but it would not be enough. Boston held on to a 104-95 victory, tying the series up at 2-2. Although the Celtics did not find an answer for Jimmy Butler, who attempted 23 free throws, they kept rolling on the back of Isaiah Thomas. Thomas finished the game with 33 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. He was bad from behind the arc, making 1 of 9 attempts, but he made up for it from 2-point range, going 9-12. Green finished with 18 points and 7 boards in only 23 minutes, while Al Horford finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Butler finishes with 33 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds to lead the way for the Bulls.
Chicago found improved point guard play from Isaiah Canaan, who scored 13 points off the bench. They will need improved guard play if they want to stay in the series, as Dwayne Wade struggled. Their shooting woes continued, as they only made 5-24 from 3-point range. The loss of Rondo is proving to be detrimental to the team. They are going to need to find a spark if they want to have any chance in the last few games of the series.
Game five is in Boston scheduled for Wednesday on TNT.
Baseline Times Staff Writer