Celtics Overwhelm Bulls During NBA In-Season Tournament


Nov 29, 2023

Last night at the iconic TD Garden in Boston, an exciting and somewhat unconventional NBA game unfolded. The Boston Celtics, the current leaders with the best record in the NBA and favorites for the championship title, faced off against the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics, who were a significant 13-point favorite in the betting odds, lived up to expectations, defeating the Bulls with a convincing score of 124-97.

The game’s highlight was undoubtedly the fourth quarter, where Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla employed a unique strategy against Bulls player Andre Drummond to increase the point differential. This move left Bulls’ coach Billy Donovan perplexed, leading to a mid-court discussion where Mazzulla explained his tactics related to the in-season tournament’s point differential tiebreaker. Understanding the strategy, Donovan acknowledged the Celtics’ approach.

In a twist of strategy, the Celtics not only covered the 13-point spread but also won by a significant 27 points. This result was crucial, especially in the context of the in-season tournament, where point differentials can be a tiebreaker. This new format has brought an interesting dynamic to the game, even affecting the way teams and handicappers approach the betting spreads.

Interestingly, even Jrue Holiday of the Celtics commented on the unusual nature of the game, highlighting the dual importance of the match both for the regular season record and the in-season tournament. The tactics employed by the Celtics, akin to the ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ strategy, were notable, especially given the sizable lead they held late in the game.

The Bulls, with a disappointing record of five wins and fourteen losses, now one and eight on the road, showed a lackluster performance. It’s clear that changes are imminent for the team to improve its standings.

Coach Mazzulla’s comment in the press conference about getting used to the in-season tournament format in “5 to 6 years” sparked discussions about the effectiveness and appeal of this new addition to the NBA. It raises questions about the immediate impact and long-term acceptance of such changes in a league steeped in tradition.

The Celtics’ dominant performance over the Bulls not only showcased their prowess but also brought to light the evolving strategies and implications of the in-season tournament format in the NBA.

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Thumbnail photo via David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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