BOSTON — After a disappointing Game 1, the Boston Celtics turned in another forgettable performance and fell to the Chicago Bulls 111-97 on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
The Bulls had their way with the Celtics on offense, as they featured six players who scored in double figures, led by Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, who each posted 22 points. Robin Lopez (18 points, eight rebounds) and Paul Zipser (16 points) also had strong nights for the Bulls.
And in a game against his former team, Rajon Rondo was spectacular. The Bulls point guard contributed 11 points to go along with nine rebounds and 14 assists.
Boston continues to search for scoring options outside of Isaiah Thomas, who finished the night with a team-high 20 points.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to a 0-2 series deficit.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Al Horford
GAME 1 HANGOVER
The Celtics were sluggish in the second half of their Game 1 loss, and their lack of pace and rhythm appeared to carry over to Game 2. The Bulls, on the other hand, came out firing and held a 31-26 lead after the first 12 minutes. Rondo could not be contained in the first quarter. The Chicago point guard posted six points, to go along with six assists and three rebounds. Boston settled for poor shots, which allowed the Bulls to jump out in transition.
Thomas paced the Celtics with seven points, while Nikola Mirotic led all scorers after one quarter with 10. The C’s did do a good job of defending Game 1 hero Jimmy Butler, as they held the Bulls forward to just five first-quarter points on 2-of-8 shooting.
BOSTON’S STRUGGLES CONTINUE
After a forgettable first quarter, the Celtics turned in a lifeless second frame and trailed the Bulls 54-46 at the break. Rondo continued to stuff the stat sheet. Through two quarters, the point guard logged nine points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. Mirotic and Lopez also had strong first halves, as each player finished with 10 points and six rebounds at the break.
The Celtics continued to lack spark on the offensive end, as the team struggled to find a scoring option outside of Thomas, who finished the half with a team-high 11 points. Marcus Smart was one of the stronger first-half performers for Boston. While he only contributed six points, he also pulled down six rebounds, dished out two assists and played relentless defense.
Boston received no help from its big men on the boards through two quarters, as Horford and Johnson combined for only six rebounds. To put that in perspective, the Bulls featured three players with six rebounds or more in the first half.
BUTLER WAKES UP
Chicago managed to grab an eight-point first-half lead without much help from Butler, who only recorded nine points through the first two quarters. But the All Star forward wouldn’t stay silent for long, as he posted 10 points in the third frame and helped the Bulls hold an 86-75 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
The size of Lopez continued to be a problem for Boston. The Chicago center recorded eight points and pulled down two more rebounds in the third quarter. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, in an attempt to address the interior, opted to go with Tyler Zeller instead of Johnson to start the second half. The move didn’t amount to much, though, as Zeller only recorded four points and one rebound in seven minutes of work.
Boston didn’t put up much of a fight in the final quarter, as Chicago maintained a double-digit lead for most of the frame. The Celtics continue to look lost offensively, as no player other than Thomas has shown the capability of creating their own shot. The Bulls’ considerable size advantage gave the Celtics nightmares for the second consecutive game, and is poised to be a problem for the remainder of the series.
PLAY OF THE GAME
In one of the few offensive bright spots for the C’s, Horford slams one home.
The Celtics and Bulls will now shift their first-round series to Chicago for Game 3 on Friday night. Tip-off from the United Center is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images