Ford Keys to the Game: Bulls 92, Celtics 104

Ford Keys to the Game

Bulls 92, Celtics 104

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah

Rajon Rondo shoots a floater over the outstretched arms of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah of the Bulls Friday night at the TD Garden.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

Whenever the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls meet, it’s going to be a good game. They met tonight in the TD Garden and it was actually a great game – at least for one half.

The teams essentially played even for the first 24 minutes of the game, as Boston went into halftime with a 53-48 lead. In fact, the Bulls may have even been playing better basketball as a team in the first half, as they had more balanced scoring than the C’s with the help of Derrick Rose’s ability to break Boston’s defense down.

That all went to the wayside when the third quarter began, because the Celtics had their game face on and the Bulls just couldn’t keep up.

Chicago came out of halftime and scored the first four points to cut their deficit to one, but it was all Boston from that point on. Kevin Garnett started it all off when he poked the ball away from Rose and tossed a perfect, blind outlet pass to Rajon Rondo, who put in an uncontested fast break layup at the other end. That bucket was the start of an 11-1 Celtics run in which every point was a byproduct of a shot taken at the basket.

The rest of those 11 points came off of layups from Shaquille O’Neal, Rondo (twice) and Paul Pierce, respectively, and one free throw from Shaq, who was fouled on another layup attempt. That means Boston scored five layups and a free throw in a span of 2:31. In other words, the C’s carved up Chicago’s defense with a level of precision that is normally unheard of in the NBA.

The run of easy points left Boston with a 64-53 lead with 7:39 remaining in the third period, and the lead only grew from there. When all was said and done, the C’s had finished off a 12-point victory over the Bulls to up their winning streak to a season-high six games.

Key Box Score Line

Turn the calendars back, folks. Kevin Garnett took us back to the early 2000s tonight.

When the Big Ticket was at the peak of his career, from a statistical sense, in Minnesota, he was putting up unworldly numbers on a nightly basis. He was named the MVP of the NBA in 2004 after averaging 24.2 PPG, 13.9 RPG and 5.0 APG in 82 games played. The seasons that sandwiched his MVP campaign concluded with strikingly similar numbers as well. Tonight, he was back to playing at that level.

Garnett finished off another “revenge game,” as many like to call them, with game highs of 20 points and 17 rebounds tonight against Joakim Noah and the Bulls. He shot 7-of-11 from the field and made all six of his free throw attempts. In addition to finishing his shots off, he was also creating them for others. KG finished with the third-highest assist total in the game, behind only Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose, with six dimes.

The numbers are incredible, and watching him accrue those statistics was incredibly imprsesive. It seemed as if he was everywhere; that every rebound would somehow fall into his hands and that every shot that left his fingertips would find the bottom of the basket.

At this point, it’s a pretty good bet to assume Garnett’s resurgent season will continue. Tonight, however, it continued in MVP-type fashion.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Of the 196 points scored in the game, 96 came from inside the paint (56 by Boston, 40 by Chicago).
  • Celtics players claimed the game-highs in points (Kevin Garnett, 20), rebounds (Garnett, 17) and assists (Rajon Rondo, 19).
  • Ray Allen scored 10 points in the first quarter but only four over the final three periods.
  • Joakim Noah grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds for the Bulls.
  • Luke Harangody was the only Celtic who participated in the game not to score.
  • Rondo's 19 dimes were more than Chicago's entire team recorded (18).
  • All five of Boston's starters scored at least 12 points.
  • Bulls starting shooting guard Keith Bogans' only recorded statistics were one rebound and one turnover.
  • The Celtics' bench totaled only one assist, recorded by Marquis Daniels.
  • Chicago scored 19 points in the first and third periods. Boston scored 22 points in the second and fourth periods.
  • The Celtics outrebounded the Bulls 44-34.
  • Garnett and Noah were whistled for a double-technical in the second period.
  • Boston made only one 3-pointer.
  • The Celtics shot 53.1 percent to the Bulls' 41.9 percent.
  • Shaquille O'Neal fouled out of the game in less than 20 minutes of playing time.
  • Boston committed only nine turnovers, which is only two more than it committed in the first quarter of its last game.
  • To Chicago's credit, it only committed 13 turnovers itself.

Quote of the Night

Shaquille O'Neal on Kevin Garnett's play against the Bulls, and particularly Joakim Noah: "He's playing at a high level... especially when the young disrespectful cats come out, he steps his game up."