Celtics + KG = No Contest
No overtime pay for this one.
The Bulls are said to have been strengthened, solidified, fortified and homogenized by their strong playoff showing against the Celtics last season. They are a more together team now.
Going toe to toe and matching the famed, but ‘not so feared’ KG-less Celtics basket for basket in the longest, most closely contested playoff series in NBA history will do that for you. Just ask the Atlanta Hawks what a 7 game series with the future NBA kings did for them the previous season.
The Bulls are now a tired, confused, disorganized, beaten team that will go back to practice to re-learn how to defend the pick and roll and pick and pop. The Celtics used those regularly with great success. The Celtics also assisted on 33 of 43 made baskets, with Rondo conducting the offense.
If a player can dominate a game with taking a shot, Rajon Rondo can – with 16 assists and 8 rebounds. The Celtics shot a superb .581 on three point shots, but an even better 62% from everywhere else. The Celtics ball movement had the Bulls in disarray for most of the evening.
Intensity is self manufactured and the Celtics have a self replenishing pool of it in Kevin Garnett.
The Bulls young leader, point guard Derrick Rose, was shut down by Rajon Rondo. He stayed in front of Rose most of the night, resulting in just two assists for the Rookie of the Year, only the 6th time in his young career he has had that few.
Together, the Bulls went down in the second quarter and never got back up. It was the second straight third quarter TKO for the 3-0 Celtics.
At the Half
The mugging began in the second quarter with a scissors-like dissection of the Bulls’ defense by Ray Allen. He made 4 of 5 shots from everywhere but behind the arc, his usual launching pad. Ray even busted out his bank shot, in hopes that Sam Jones was watching. He led both teams at the half with 12 points.
Perkins was 3-3 leading for 7 points after two. Marquis Daniels finally had a good offensive showing with 7 first half points by taking the ball into the paint. Eddie House had 7 by half time, too.
Paul Pierce took over the third quarter with a barrage of three pointers, making 5 of 5, after having just two points at the half. Pierce finished with 22 points, 20 in the third quarter, tying teammate Eddie House for game honors.
House’s flame thrower got working in the second half as he poured it on to the discombobulated Bulls. His 22 points came in 22 minutes, 4 on three pointers.
Third Quarter Verdant Volume Three Pointers Raining from the Sky
The Celtics have averaged over 10 three point shots made so far and are hitting them at a lethal 44% rate.
The Cs were just 2 for 10 from downtown at half time. They made 7-8 in the third, with Ray Allen starting it off with the first two. Pierce took over from there.
At the 6:52 mark of the third quarter, the Bulls called time out with score already out of reach at 72-45. The Bulls could only get it down to 88-61 by the end of the 3rd quarter.
Fourth Quarter was Second Unit Time Again
The Celtics put the second unit in for the entire 4th quarter and they maintained the advantage until the final bell. Shelden Williams contributed a double double (10 and 10) one game after missing a double double by one rebound. With two straight blow outs, Williams is getting the minutes and is contributing to the second unit’s success with fundamental basketball.
Ray Allen finished with 20 points and Garnett added 16 more, while looking refreshingly active on defense again.
The Celtics are holding the opponents to just 8 for 42 in three point shooting (19%) so far.
Now people might start believing Rasheed Wallace’s daring comment about getting the best record ever. Okay, it is very, very early for that.
But how about Doc River’s comment about playing the best defense ever? Yep, still way too early for that as well. But they’ve got you thinking, haven’t they? Admit it now.
The Celtics with Kevin Garnett present a whole different world of hurt than the valiant, but mortal Boston team Chicago faced last May.
The Big Ticket and Co. put the big hurt on the Rose colored Bulls. Though he only took two shots, Rajon Rondo took up where he left off by putting up 16 assist with 8 rebounds in a masterfully conducted game.
Perkins had three blocks, Shelden Williams added two more, and Pierce added three steals as they defeated a Bulls team that was riding high after defeating the Spurs the previous evening.
Boston continues their goal driven march through the NBA when the Chris Paul Hornets come to Boston on Sunday for a 6:00 pm game.
Let the Rondo vs. Chris Paul debates begin.
Rondo is in a contract drive this season. This could be a key match up to reference in the negotiating process by either side, depending on how things turn out in the game. The Celtics have until Monday to work out a deal with Rondo’s agent, before he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
All the right team oriented things will be said, but Rondo believes himself to be a top five guard. He will measure himself against the player who is regarded as the number one point guard in the league, the Hornets’ Chris Paul.