Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 81, Bulls 97

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 81, Bulls 97

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Derrick Rose, Glen Davis, Carloss Boozer, Kevin Garnett

Derrick Rose, who played at a higher level than anyone on the floor tonight, hangs in the air above Glen Davis, Carlos Boozer and Kevin Garnett as his shot approaches the rim.
Jonathan Daniel/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

It was clear from the beginning of tonight’s game that it simply wasn’t Boston’s night. That’s why when the Celtics jumped ahead 49-48 thanks to a 6-0 run to start the second half, there was a feeling of surrealism that accompanied that lead.

When the Bulls responded with a 10-0 run of their own to jump back on top by nine, it was more a feeling of realism than surrealism.

The issues that plagued the Celtics all night long were also the main reasons why the Bulls were able to build that double-digit lead midway through the third period: the inability to make shots, and a point guard named Derrick Rose.

Rose, who was utterly unstoppable tonight, dished off to Luol Deng for an easy running jump shot about six feet from the basket to open up the run. Rose then scored the next two points via the free-throw line to put his team ahead 52-49 with 8:41 remaining in the third.

While Chicago was scoring points at one end, Boston couldn’t muster up anything at the other end. Paul Pierce missed on the Celtics’ next possession, marking Boston’s third consecutive miss (and fourth, if you count a Rajon Rondo free throw), and Rose quickly brought the ball back to the other end of the floor. After he missed a transition layup, Carlos Boozer hunted down the loose ball and put home a quick layup to put his team ahead by five.

After three more misses from Boston, two from Kevin Garnett and one from Rondo, Deng took a loose ball rebound coast-to-coast and slammed home a dunk with 6:58 remaining in the third. The Celtics called an immediate timeout, but it was too late. This one had already turned into the Bulls' favor, for good.

On Boton's possession out of the timeout, Ray Allen missed a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and Rose eventually capped his team’s 10-0 run with a driving layup at the other end.

Only 3:47 of playing time ticked off of the clock between Deng’s runner and Rose’s layup. Chicago scored 10 points during that span while the Celtics were mired in a scoreless drought. Boston did not score a point for 4:32 of playing time, and during that stretch the C’s missed nine field goals, including three layup attempts by Rondo, a free throw, had one shot blocked and committed one turnover.

That dry spell, coupled with Chicago’s scoring, brought this game back to reality. Yes, the C’s crawled back to within three at one point, but there just wasn’t a feeling that they’d be able to complete this comeback victory. Tonight’s 97-81 score is proof of that.

Key Box Score Line

On a night in which Boston’s leading scorer notched just 15 points and the team's only double-double was literally as quiet as one could get, an opposing player finds his name in the Key Box Score Line.

As we stated in the Key Moment section above, Derrick Rose was unstoppable tonight, and that’s no exaggeration. Rose finished with game-highs of 30 points and eight assists, and he also logged five rebounds and two steals as well. No one on Boston’s roster, including All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, had a sliver of a chance to stay in front of Rose tonight, and that was the main reason why Chicago was so successful.

Be it shots from downtown, where he was 2-of-5 on the night, or incredibly difficult layups, Rose made it look easy against the top scoring defense in the league. And when he wasn’t putting the ball through the hoop, he was finding wide open teammates for open shots. Every Celtic defender on the floor had to pay attention to Rose all night long, and not even that could slow him down.

Box Score Nuggets

  • No Celtics player scored more than 15 points.
  • Paul Pierce committed a game-high four turnovers.
  • Kevin Garnett recorded Boston's only double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Jeff Green scored 10 points off the bench for Boston.
  • Green, Delonte West (also 4-of-7) and Sasha Pavlovic (1-of-1), all of whom are reserves, were the only Celtics to shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
  • Glen Davis scored six of his eight points from the free-throw line.
  • Derrick Rose recorded game highs of 30 points and eight assists.
  • Boston shot just 38.4 percent from the field.
  • Chicago made 14 of its 15 free throw attempts, including a 10-of-10 performance from Rose.
  • Boston was outrebounded 44-35.
  • The Celtics recorded only 14 assists on the night.
  • Carlos Boozer had a big game with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Luol Deng was the game's second-leading scorer with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
  • Deng (18), Rose (16) and Boozer (16) were the only Bulls to attempt more than seven field goals.
  • Both teams committed only 12 turnovers.
  • Boston was outscored 44-22 in the paint.
  • Rose finished with a game-high plus/minus rating of plus-24.
  • Oddly enough, Boston's leading scorer, Pierce, finished with the game's worst plus/minus rating of minus-16.
  • The Celtics finished with three blocks and three steals.
  • Chicago scored at least 22 points in every quarter, while the Celtics scored 21 or less in every quarter.

Quote of the Night

Jeff Green on tonight's game: "Look at the scoreboard. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game."