Hoiberg was concerned about how the young players on his roster would respond. Would they live up to the moment or be overwhelmed by it? Bobby Portis emphatically answered that question with the best performance of his young career. Portis scored 19 points, going 8-for-10 from the field, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists as the Bulls pulled off a surprising 106-102 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
To put Portis’ game into context, his 19 points are the most by a Bulls player coming off the bench in Game 1 since Ben Gordon scored 30 in Game 1 of a first-round series against the Washington Wizards in 2005. The key for him going into Game 2 will be to find the consistency that has eluded him and the rest of the Bulls’ young bench all season. Will this be a turning point for the young forward or another flash of brilliance in a season of mediocrity?
I’m sifting through the box score of last night’s disappointing loss and remain stunned at the impact Bobby Portis had on this game.
19 points, 8-10 FG, 3-4 3FG, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 0 TOs and +12.
His shooting was practically flawless. He had more defensive rebounds than anybody on the floor and his +12 tied Isaiah Thomas for game high. But I think this block was his play of the game:
The Bulls did not score on the ensuing possession, but the Celtics wouldn’t score for another 90 seconds. It was a demoralizing play for Boston.
Who is Bobby Portis? The Bulls drafted him with the 23rd pick in 2015. And last night on Twitter, he suddenly became a Danny Ainge draft mistake (Boston selected Terry Rozier at 16).
Like a lot of young players, Portis has been wildly inconsistent. He’s been better since the Bulls traded Taj Gibson, but I doubt even the bullish of Bulls fans would have predicted this sort of game.
Can Portis keep this up? Probably not, but he’s already made his mark on this series. Another Bulls role player might step up in Game 2. Or… [super long pause] Kelly Olynyk might actually impact the game.
I’m pretty sure we all remember Leon Powe’s 21-point explosion in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals:
I’m also pretty sure no one remembers that Powe scored a total of 16 points in Games 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.