Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics: Game Reaction, Analysis
While the Chicago Cubs were trying to win their first World Series in 108 years in Cleveland on Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls were trying to win their fourth straight game to start the season 4-0 for the first time since the 1995-96 season.
The most important fourth win revolving around Chicago involved the baseball diamond, but the Chicago Bulls were looking for their fourth straight win to start the season; a feat not accomplished since the 1995-96 season.
Wednesday night marked not only Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland, but the first road game for the Bulls that involved a team trying to actually win the game, unlike in their 30-point thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets on Halloween night.
After defeating the Boston Celtics by six points on Opening Night at the United Center, the Bulls and Celtics met once again with the Bulls’ three-game winning streak on the line at the TD Garden.
With that being said, here’s a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the action from the – victory/defeat for the Bulls in Boston.
Just like in their previous three games, the Bulls started fast out of the gate.
However, after a 10-5 start inside the first three minutes that forced an early timeout from Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, Boston got hot in a hurry.
The Celtics went on a 15-3 run — sparked by four 3-pointers — with 5:46 left in the opening quarter. That run lead to the longest drought of the season for the Bulls in terms of leading the opponent.
According to the ESPN broadcast, the Bulls only trailed for one minute in the first three games combined. They trailed for 8:09 heading into the second quarter.
It was a forgettable quarter for the Bulls, who had a five-minute span where they missed seven of eight shots and turned the ball over four times to spark a big Celtic run. The C’s shot 56 percent from the floor and dropped a 36-point quarter on the Bulls, jumping out to an 11-point lead after one.
The Celtics would lead for the entire quarter (and as much as 14 points), but the Bulls fought all the back to cut the lead to just one point on a couple of occasions late in the frame.
With 7:31 left before halftime, Amir Johnson slammed home an easy dunk to make it 43-29 Celtics, which led to a timeout from Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg.
From that timeout until there was 2:36 left before the break, the Bulls went on a 20-7 run, led by Jimmy Butler, and got the lead all the way down to 50-49.
In the midst of that run, Jae Crowder landed on Rajon Rondo’s foot while passing across the floor and rolled his left ankle pretty badly. He was later ruled out for the night by the Celtics PR staff.
The Bulls would win the quarter, 27-19, but the Celtics just were able to fend off the Bulls to take a 55-52 halftime lead into the locker room.
The first three minutes of the game summed up the third quarter for the Bulls. The Celtics jumped out on a 7-0 run inside the first three minutes of the quarter and pushed the lead back out to double digits once again.
Simply put, the third quarter of Wednesday’s game was Amir Johnson’s world and everyone else was just living it.
At one point, the Celtics big man was outscoring the Bulls by himself (16-15). Yeah, it wasn’t great for the Bulls in the third, while the Celtics pushed their lead back out to 11 by the end of the frame after a 26-18 advantage in the quarter.
Check out this absurd stat from the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn as Johnson displayed his best Stephen Curry impression:
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) November 3, 2016
Because of course, right? Why wouldn’t this happen?
Good news: The Bulls won the final quarter, 30-26.
Bad news: The Bulls lost the game, 107-100.
With 7:43 left in the game and the Bulls down 91-80, Jimmy Butler checked into the game, and the tide began to turn.
Inside of about a minute, Dwyane Wade hit a pair of free throws, followed by Butler quickly turned the flow of the game with six quick points to force a Celtics timeout with 6:20 left and Boston clinging to a 93-88 lead.
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The Bulls couldn’t get it any close than five points until an easy Butler dunk on a good Rajon Rondo assist made it 100-96. After that, utter chaos ensued.
In 21 seconds during an extended possession, the Bulls got five chances to score, and they finally would with 2:21 left, thanks to the surprising Bobby Portis. (More on him and the fourth-quarter personnel in a bit.)
After a stop and a silly foul by Boston out of a Celtic timeout, Nikola Mirotic tied the game at 100 with 1:57 left.
And that was all she wrote for the Bulls.
Mirotic missed two free throws that could’ve given them the lead with 1:36 left, Rondo air-balled a mid-range jumper, followed by Wade and Butler both misses tough 3-point attempts and the Celtics would finish off the Bulls.
The question of the night for the Bulls: Why did Fred Hoiberg not use either Taj Gibson or Robin Lopez for defensive purposes down the stretch?