They must have walked into the locker room at halftime with a unanimous consensus: This can’t happen much longer.
Kevin Garnett bowed his head, helplessly crouched over in a designer suit. Rajon Rondo and Leon Powe hobbled in shortly afterward. Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis may have just as well done the same, both crippled and plagued with foul troubles that left Boston’s back court essentially non-existent.
The Bulls ran up to a 12-0 run as the final minutes concluded in the second quarter. Sloppy turnovers at an unorthodox tempo left fans wondering why the Garden’s parquet floor looked still iced from the Bruins’ own Playoff run.
Ray Allen seemed just as ice cold. Suddenly they fell into slippery slope of facing a 0-2 deficit en route to AnywhereButTheGarden, which is never good news for the Celtics.
The halftime exchange probably went something like this:
“Dr. James Andrews is not walking through that door,” Doc Rivers voicelessly yelled in his signature raspy 4-year-old-with-tonsillitis voice. “We can either let the Bruins and Sox take over this town once again, fall into irrelevancy for six months and wonder how many miles PP34 has left in the tank for the 2009-10 season.
“Or we can start setting picks for Ray, slow down the tempo and suck up our injuries. Nobody feels bad for the defending champions. I won’t be surprised if we get booed heading back out there after how we ended the first half on such a barrage of carelessness.”
“And Scal, what’s with the bright red sweater?” Rivers added. “You look like Ronald McDonald at a high school prom. Especially with the Bulls in town, no less?”
They chuckled. A ginger man who probably sits one concussion away from legitimate color blindness did his part to raise a few eyebrows.
And after 72 minutes of action against a highly capable young group of Bulls, the Celtics woke up to an eye-opening situation of their own:
- Tyrus Thomas, the monster block artist about to hit Boston right now
- Joakim Noah, the lanky big man about to hit Perkins in the face right now
- Derrick Rose, the guy who dropped 36 points, about to burn Rondo right now
- Ben Gordon, the ticking time bomb about to hit everyone right about now
So how did the Celtics fend off Chicago’s Fierce Four?
- Second-chance buckets: Credit due in the paint to Perkins’ persistent dominance (both physically and, well, more physically). He grabbed 7 of Boston’s 21 offensive boards, giving the Celtics a dominant second-chance points advantage.
- Rajon Rondo: Simply brilliant. Player of the Game through my eyes, with the steal that he turned into a not-so-easy breakaway layup. Rondo regulated the offense that looked stagnate in the first half.
- Big Baby: The only player to trump Rondo’s +17 margin with a +20 of his own. He finished with 26 points, with monumental screens for none other than:
- And of course, the guy that The Greatest Bar will toast to tonight, Ray Allen: Woke up in the second half to absolutely rain down on the Bulls, specifically The Shot that came within inches of Noah’s freakish wing span. The Gordon-Allen matchup brought flashback’s of Pierce-LeBron in Game 7 last season
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