Eddie House just cleaned up in garbage time to finish with 22 points, giving the Celtics three players above the 20-point mark for the first time this season.
The Bulls, who play an NBA-high 23 back-to-backs this season, appeared gassed after flying in following a win at home Friday night.
Check back for more analysis and a feature on Boston’s potent attack. Also, we’ll be courtside when the Celts take on New Orleans at the TD Garden on Sunday at 6 p.m.
Fourth quarter, 3:55, Celtics 107-81: Ray Allen was just congratulated by the home crowd for passing Hall of Famer John Stockton on the all-time scoring list.
With 19,712 points, Allen is now 33rd in NBA history.
Fourth quarter, 3:58, Celtics 106-81: Joakim Noah just had a basket, heard a torrent of boos and then played a bit to the Garden crowd by lifting his arms as if to ask for more.
He is cementing himself as an enemy of the state, but he doesn’t seem to mind. So long as he produces, I imagine his teammates don’t.
Noah has 16 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes, one of the only bright spots for the Bulls.
Fourth quarter, 6:18, Celtics 99-75: A formula for success has been tied to the Celtics’ ability to not only make the 3-pointer but also defend it.
In the last two games, Boston is 21-of-50 (42 percent) from long range. Its opponents have made an appalling 1-of-23 from 3-point range. Yikes.
Fourth quarter, 8:30, Celtics 93-71: The only Celtic yet to appear is J.R. Giddens.
A mini-run by the Bulls cut it to 19 with over nine minutes left and caused a few groans to rise out of the crowd.
Eddie House then hit a 3-pointer to make it a bit more comfortable. Now they’re tossing T-shirts into the crowd and all is well.
Fourth quarter, 10:15, Celtics 90-67: The first few members of the Celtics bench are in and it remains to be seen if any of the removed starters (all but Rajon Rondo) return.
Eddie House just made that less of a possibility on a jumper, courtesy of Rajon Rondo, who is now one assist shy of recording 17 for the third time in his career.
And that will likely be where Rondo stays. He was just removed in favor of Lester Hudson and got a nice hand from the crowd.
End of third quarter, Celtics 88-61: Just to rehash what we just saw from Paul Pierce:
After a two-point first half, the captain just made all seven of his shots in the third quarter, including five straight from 3-point range. It was a 20-point quarter for Pierce.
Rajon Rondo had the assist on the first four hoops for Pierce and has now handed out 15 assists in the game.
Rondo’s career high for assists is 17, but he topped that in the playoffs against these same Bulls, doing it in Game 7 of their first-round matchup. I think it’s clear he likes playing this team.
Third quarter, 2:03, Celtics 81-57: A little later I’ll have a piece on the Celtics backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen and what they have been able to accomplish against this Bulls team.
The numbers are somewhat staggering. We’ll see what those two have to say about the matchups, but right now they are dominating.
Third quarter, 2:36, Celtics 81-53: This has suddenly turned into a showcase for the Celtics, who are a step ahead of the Bulls at every turn.
The offense that Doc Rivers said earlier in the week still needed work while the defense put the clamps down has come to life.
Boston is shooting 56.6 percent from the floor and has outscored Chicago 58-24 since early in the second.
Paul Pierce just made his fourth 3-pointer of the quarter.
Third quarter, 6:50, Celtics 72-45: Talk about a shooting display.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have teamed to make 5-of-5 3-pointers this quarter and the lead has grown to 27.
Rajon Rondo has 13 assists already.
Halftime, Celtics 50-35: Eddie House missed a 3-point try at the buzzer but the Celtics are in great shape heading to the locker room.
They have now held their opponent under 20 points for six straight quarters.
Captain America, Abraham Lincoln and something that is either the Abominable Snowman or the Yeti are the clubhouse leaders for best costume.
Back in a bit for second half action. Stick around.
Second quarter, 1:40, Celtics 48-35: A couple of bad possessions for Kevin Garnett and Shelden Williams.
First, Garnett found himself in the middle of the floor leading the break. A pass to the wing found Williams, who lost the ball off his leg.
On the other end Williams allowed Tyrus Thomas to get along underneath and Garnett offered up a weak foul, giving Thomas an easy three-point play.
Second quarter, 2:50, Celtics 48-32: Doc Rivers talked before the game about how the Bulls would be a better defensive team with John Salmons at the starting 2-guard instead of Ben Gordon.
Right now Ray Allen is running circles around Salmons. Allen has 10 points this quarter and just flew past Salmons at the top of the key. He had an open lane to do something with but Kendrick Perkins pushed away his defender for an offensive foul, his third in only nine minutes.
Boston is shooting 58.1 percent (18-of-31) compared to 29.4 percent (10-of-34) for Chicago.
Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte was just honored for being the longest-serving trainer in the NBA.
Second quarter, 3:27, Celtics 46-32: We talked earlier of the success Ray Allen has had against these Bulls. If not for the early foul trouble, he would be heading for another big scoring night.
Allen has 12 points in just 10 minutes of play.
The crowd was about to burst if Kevin Garnett converted that alley-oop from Rajon Rondo. Not to be.
Second quarter, 6:19, Celtics 38-26: The boos that rained down upon Joakim Noah when he was introduced to the crowd showed how much Celtics fans grew to hate him during the playoffs last season.
Noah just gave them all something to cheer about, picking up a foul and then a technical for arguing the whistle.
Ray Allen made the freebie to extend Boston’s lead to a game-high 14 points.
Second quarter, 6:59, Celtics 35-23: Eddie House just buried a 3-pointer to make it a 17-4 run overall for the Celtics.
House, however, is no match on the defensive end for Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who has taken it to House a few times here in the second.
Rose finally converted on one while getting fouled by House. He missed the free throw.
Second quarter, 8:51, Celtics 29-19: Building on that Rasheed Wallace note from earlier. His last 13 shots have been from 3-point range going back to the fourth quarter of the opener at Cleveland.
It’s safe to say his role is defined.
On another note, much was made of how Marquis Daniels would alter the Celtics’ second unit, especially as it relates to Eddie House. The two are playing very well together right now with Daniels bringing the ball up and House camping on the right side.
Daniels has also found himself space down low with the smaller Kirk Hinrich on him and leads the Celts with seven points.
Shelden Williams just dunked on the break to give the Celtics their largest lead and force Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro into a timeout.
End of first quarter, Celtics 21-17: The Celtics were 3-point happy through their first two games but didn’t make their first against the Bulls until Rasheed Wallace made one with just 1.8 seconds left in the first.
Wallace has taken nine shots in the last two games. All nine have been from behind the arc.
Other numbers of note:
—Rajon Rondo has five assists and no turnovers.
–The Bulls are shooting 25 percent from the floor.
First quarter, 2:31, Celtics 16-13: Speaking of foul trouble, the Celtics have three players with two already.
Ray Allen played just four minutes before being forced the bench with his second. He was soon joined by Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.
Something to watch.
First quarter, 3:00, Celtics 16-13: I mentioned earlier that the Celtics had held opponents over the last seven quarters (excluding only the first quarter against Cleveland the other night) to just 33.1 percent (40-of-121) shooting.
Thus far, the Bulls are 3-of-13 from the floor, a 23.1 percent clip.
Tyrus Thomas just committed his second foul for Chicago.
First quarter, 5:47, Celtics 13-11: Kendrick Perkins has been very active early on, the beneficiary of some nice interior passing by the Celtics.
Perkins just took a feed from Rajon Rondo and dunked uncontested. In typical Perkins fashion he then committed a foul off the ball on the other end and had a few words with the officials.
First quarter, 7:16, Celtics 10-6: Great ball movement underneath gets Kendrick Perkins a short jumper.
Four Celtics are already in the scoring column and the one who isn’t, Rajon Rondo, has three assists.
First quarter, 10:00, Celtics 4-2: After Kevin Garnett hit a game-opening jumper, Ray Allen missed a 3-pointer.
Allen is just 11-for-34 from the floor this season, but torched the Bulls in the playoffs. Keep an eye on the Celtics trying to get him going early.
8:03 p.m.: Seconds from tip. A few costumes in the house tonight. I’ll update with some good ones as they come into view.
Great energy tonight, as well. We know the Bulls still feel they can play with the Celtics after last season’s playoffs, but the C’s are a different team than they were in the spring.
“Crazy Train” blaring and the players have made their way to the court.
7:44 p.m.: For the most part, it’s business as usual as the Celtics get prepared to take on the Bulls in just over 30 minutes.
It’s the usual starting five of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins for Boston.
Chicago goes with Derrick Rose and John Salmons at guard, Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas at forward and Joakim Noah underneath.
Doc Rivers gave a quick update on Brian Scalabrine and Tony Allen, both working their way back from injuries.
Rivers said Scalabrine was “close” but he had not heard anything from the trainers about Allen in five days, suggesting he has some work to do to get back on the court.
When asked about this Chicago team compared to the one that took the Celts to seven games in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, Rivers didn’t hesitate to call the current edition a better one. The Bulls lost Ben Gordon to free agency but have shuffled their rotation to stick Salmons at the starting 2-guard and have a healthy Deng at small forward. Deng missed all of the playoff series against the C’s
“I think they’re a a better team,” Rivers said. “I think they’re longer. I think they’re a a better defensive team. I think they fit. That’s not to take anything away from Ben [Gordon]. I mean, he was phenomenal in the playoffs last year…Ben’s a shot-maker so I guess you lose that. Other than that, I think they’re a better team this year. I don’t even think it’s close.”
Rivers was also asked about former NBA referee Tim Donaghy‘s book, or at least excerpts of it, which paint the league in a bad light by hinting at corrupt officiating.
“Honestly, I’ve kind of heard it in gossip, so I don’t even know what the stories are,” Rivers said. “Quite honestly, I don’t believe a lot of what he has to say anyway. Why do we so easily believe criminals? That’s my question.”
Donaghy served prison time for taking payoffs from gamblers on NBA games, including some he worked. The league successfully blocked the publication of the book.
7:09 p.m.: On the scene at the Garden and about to go check in with Doc Rivers and see what he has to say about tonight’s matchup.
More to come in a moment.
11:25 a.m.: The last time the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls met they were wrapping up a classic first-round playoff series won in seven games by the Celtics.
When the two renew acquaintances at TD Garden the matchup will have a slightly different look to it.
Kevin Garnett, of course, was missing as the C’s struggled to put away the seventh-seeded Bulls last spring. But Garnett has looked strong in his return, spearheading dominant defensive efforts in wins over Cleveland and Charlotte to start the season.
Garnett is averaging 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in less than 30 minutes per game.
Over its last seven quarters, Boston has held its opponents to 33.1 percent (40-of-121) shooting.
Chicago is coming off a 92-85 win at home against San Antonio. Derrick Rose, the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year who averaged 19.7 points in the series with the C’s, had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists against the Spurs.
Six other Bulls scored in double figures.
It’s the first of 12 Friday night home games for the Celts this season, and should be a good one. Check back for pregame analysis and be sure to follow all the game action here.