Rapid Recap is designed for the busiest of Celtics fans. Whether you can’t stay awake to read 10 paragraphs or your hangover is just too much, Rapid Recap tells the timeline of the game in only a minute or two.
While almost no one in the entirety of New England watched, the Boston Celtics—sans Kemba Walker—faced the Chicago Bulls. And it was a close one due to the Bulls’ defense and the relentlessness of Zach LaVine.
Fortunately, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown were up to the challenge. All of them had well-rounded games (28-7-2-2-2, 24-5-3-1 and 19-7-3, respectively), buttressed by an Enes Kanter double-double off the bench (17-12) and defensive wiliness from Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis and Grant Williams.
It started with Zach LaVine trying to win the game by himself and basically succeeding scoring 11 of the Bulls’ first 13 points before first the timeout:
Boston’s offense was quagmired until Hayward, Brown and Tatum put some meaningful buckets on the board:
Although Scal complimented the Bulls defense on the NBCS broadcast, I didn’t think it would hold for long. I was right!
Second frame was kinda sloppy all around, for both teams: lotta misses at the rim, blown second-chance attempts, dropped coverages, reckless shooting, bricked free throws (fortunately those were LaVine’s)…you get it.
The Jays brought some discipline back to the proceedings:
As the Celtics retook a briefly lost lead, the young dudes got in on the fun:
Also, Grant is an above-average shooter from three now!
(Blah small sample blah size blah.)
To be filed under “Sure, why not?”
LaVine and Lauri Markannen kept the Bulls very much in the game, however, and it was just a 55-52 Celtics lead at the half.
Good start to the second half. But more important was the adjustment of the Celtics’ overall energy:
What Boston couldn’t do, however, is establish a truly safe lead—Chicago was always just a handful of points behind. Which is attributable in no small part to the absence of Kemba, even with Jaylen, Gordo and Jayson all well into double figures by the third quarter’s halfway point. LaVine was cooking, as expected, but Wendell Carter may have had even greater impact, limiting the offensive impact of Boston’s bigs.
But, ultimately, the Bulls had no one really equipped to handle the Celtics’ specific wing attack. And Kanter started getting in on the fun once he realized Carter and Chicago’s other bigs wouldn’t change their defensive approaches. He adjusted slightly, and BOOM:
85-73 with three quarters in the books, after an electrifying Tatum drive to the basket:
So after this I thought the game was basically a wrap:
But nothing is ever that easy, and Kanter, so strong at the end of the third, quickly regressed into bad habits:
Worth noting the Jays were by no means immune to mistakes:
It took a strong defensive effort spearheaded by Smart and Daniel Theis to stop the bleeding:
LaVine broke that (big surprise), as the Celtics seemed troubled by the notion of any offense away from the charity stripe for a looooooong stretch.
Though there was some back-and-forth with fouling because the final score was close, this Tatum dagger basically did it: