IN A NUTSHELL
The Celtics’ lack of defense is to blame for this one. There’s no reason to be giving up 36 points in a quarter to this team from Chicago. Prior to tonight, I’d have bet that the Bears would score 36 in a quarter before I’d have bet this team would do it (FTR: if you don’t follow the NFL, that’s saying a lot).
They also allowed career highs in points for both Lauri Markkanen (35) and Zack Lavine (42), becoming the first Bulls teammates to score more than 35 in the same game since a couple guys named Jordan and Pippen did it back in the ’90s.
Fun Fact, though: Guinness Book of World Records actually called the Celtics after the game requesting to include Kyrie in their next book, as he’s now the world record holder for the quietest 37 points scored in NBA history.
Keeping with the “even though you saw it you still don’t believe it” themed stats, the Celtics even led by as much as 7 at one point; but this game really felt like they were trailing by at least a dozen basically the whole time. Everyone was clamoring about this being a trap game heading in and, well, the guys sure played like it. The Celtics fell to the Bulls with a final score of 126-116 in one of the worst losses all season (and that’s REALLY saying something).
WHAT WENT RIGHT
-As much as I rag on the quiet 37 points Kyrie had, he was extremely efficient in his attack (58% from the field), he added 10 assists along with 5 rebounds to round out his game, and (make of this what you will) he was the only member on the Celtics to register a net positive in the +/- game (+6).
-Jayson Tatum started the game hot as hell, knocking down the Celtics first 7 points before the Bulls even got on the scoreboard. (he’d go on to score just 5 more points the remainder of the game – that part ain’t so great so let’s just keep it moving)
-Instead of getting down on themselves down 25 points on the road, the Celtics went on a huge 24-7 run that eventually made this game an actual contest again, at 94-86. They wouldn’t get any closer for the remainder of the game, but they did manage to hover around the 10-15 point deficit just long enough to give some Celtics fans hope and make the game at least a little interesting in Q4.
WHAT WENT WRONG
-The Celtics were eaten alive on the glass- 49-32. He won’t fix everything, but Baynes really can’t return fast enough at this point.
-Lauri Markannen had more points at the HALF (15) then the entire Celtics bench (7). It didn’t get much better from there, either, as Boston’s bench finished with a mere 30 points, compared to Markennen’s 35pt output for his night.
-I mentioned about how the Bulls dropped 36 in Q2 – but it gets even worse. The Celtics got doubled up in that quarter, 36-18. Let’s just burn this tape and never talk about it again, deal?
-Boston had just 3 fast break points at half compared to the Bulls’ 17. My notes regarding ball handling for the first half include stellar insight such as “sloppy as fuck”.
-The Celtics would actually clamp down when necessary during a couple of crucial late-game trips down the floor for the Bulls, but they’d inevitably allow a second chance after fumbling the ball back allowing an offensive rebound. For instance, the Celtics brought the game within 10 and were clearly looking to pounce. After a possession of lockdown defense the ball found it’s way back to Zack Lavine who, with a new 14 seconds on the shot clock, dribbled until he found a mid-range spot to drill his 40th point of the night.
-The next trip down, again, a 10 point game: this time the Celtics zone D forced the miss but then lapsed in their block outs, allowing LM to come flying in for his 35th point and 15th rebound on the night. The score was now 118-106 with just under two minutes to go and Celtics fans everywhere had seen enough. Fucking frustrating.
-A team that normally shoots just under 80% from the charity stripe finished tonight shooting 95.2%, making 20 of 21 attempts. That’s just bad luck.
WHAT THE HELL?
-In addition to becoming the first Bull teammates to score 35+ since Jordan and Pippen, Markkenen and Lavine became the first teammates to score 40+ and 35+ against the Celtics since 2005 (vs. Gilbert Arenas and ANTAWN JAMISON)
-JT disappeared for the most part after Q1, but he had a lot of pretty moves during that first quarter fasho! I’m just trying to find the positives here, guys, bear with me a bit here…
-Daniel Theis made quick work in his limited minutes tonight, going 3/3 for 8 points and grabbing 4 rebounds, dishing 2 assists, and adding 2 blocks to the stat sheet – all in less than eighteen minutes.
-One of Kyrie’s ten assists- seen here demonstrating that court vision. In my eyes, he remains one of the most underrated passers in the NBA.