The Boston Celtics crushed the Chicago Bulls early and never looked back.
The C’s led Monday night’s game by 20-plus points throughout and earned a decisive 105-89 win at the United Center.
Despite the absence of star point guard Kyrie Irving (knee soreness), Boston still scored more than 100 points, including five players scoring in double-digits, led by Jaylen Brown’s 21.
The Celtics improve to 45-20 with the victory, while the Bulls fall to 21-42.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Shane Larkin
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics attacked the paint early and often, as illustrated in the graphic below. This strategy proved effective as Boston jumped out to a 16-5 lead.
The Celtics opened the game on a 7-0 run. The Bulls got within 7-5 and then the C’s went on a 19-0 spurt before Chicago scored to make it a 26-7 deficit.
Brown was the star of the opening 12 minutes. He scored 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting and pulled down two rebounds. Horford chipped in nine first-quarter points on 4-for-6 shooting.
Boston led 35-16 after its most dominant first quarter of the season. In fact, the Celtics’ 19-point lead tied their largest in a first quarter all year.
KEEPING THE LEAD
The Celtics went into halftime up 55-29. Horford (11 points), Tatum (11 points) and Brown (14 points) combined to shoot 15-for-23 and led the way offensively as the only players for either team to score in double-digits in the half. The C’s actually scored more points in the paint (30) than the Bulls had in the entire half (29).
Boston’s defense also was brilliant. It held Chicago to 28.9 percent shooting overall and 25 percent from 3-point range.
David Nwaba, Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine all paced the Bulls with seven points apiece.
MORE OF THE SAME
The third quarter saw the C’s increase their lead to more than 30, and the Bulls’ couldn’t help but poke some fun at themselves at the end of the quarter.
The C’s had their largest lead of the season (37 points) at one point in the third quarter.
Brown upped his scoring output to a game-high 21 points after scoring seven in the third. The bench also became more of a factor for the C’s, led by Greg Monroe’s 10 points.
FINISHING THE WIN
The C’s emptied their bench up 30-plus points in the fourth quarter, as rookies Semi Ojeleye, Abdel Nader and Daniel Theis all received a lot of playing time. The Bulls outscored the C’s 36-19 over the final 12 minutes, but it was too little, too late.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Tatum scores in traffic.
The Celtics will travel to Minnesota for a Thursday night game against the Timberwolves at 8 p.m. ET.
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