The Bulls stunned the favored Boston Celtics 111-97 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in this first round playoff series.
Game 3 is in the United Center Friday and Game 4 Sunday.
The Bulls absolutely dominated the shocked Celtics after the first few minutes of the game with exceptional play from Robin Lopez, Rajon Rondo and this game’s surprise, Paul Zipser.
The Bulls again dominated the rebounding 43-38behind Lopez, who had 18 points and eight rebounds. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane each had 22 points as Butler also had eight rebounds and eight assists. Rondo had 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, Nikola Mirotic had 13 points and Zipser off the bench 16.
The Celtics came into the series the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Isaiah Thomas led them with 20 points.
The Bulls again reported no injuries to start, which basically was a rarity in the last five years. It was an uncertain start for the Bulls, preferring to pull up for three straight jumpers that went awry. That enabled Boston to get going for a 7-0 lead. But the Bulls then turned back inside to Lopez and began crashing the boards, getting five of the first six chances on the offensive boards as the Bulls ran off to a 20-11 lead with Mirotic breaking out for 10 first quarter points with a pair of threes. The Bulls extended that out to 27-15 after a Lopez jumper on Rondo’s penetration and passing as Rondo had six first quarter assists. Boston went deep into their bench early for energy and had furious close and trailed the Bulls 31-26 after one quarter. The Celtics began to apply more pressure, pushing up on defense and going harder to the boards against the Bulls second unit and tied the game at 36 with 8:44 left in the first half. The Bulls regained the lead as Wade’s dunk after a first game missed dunk went this time on a fast break pass from Butler and then extended to 46-38 with 4:44 left with a pair of Lopez scores, the latter on a Rondo drive and hand off. Boston relying on a smaller, quicker lineup to try to disrupt the Bulls and beat them to the basket pulled within 54-46 at halftime. Mirotic and Lopez had 10 points each in the half and Rondo nine assists. The Bulls had a 28-20 first half rebounding edge with a 32-20 points in the paint edge.
The Celtics made the first big change of the series to start the second half with Tyler Zeller in replacing Amir Johnson. Though it was Boston’s ball movement that got them going, scoring on their first five possessions of the third quarter and Al Horford awakening. The Bulls went into a timeout with 8:10 left leading just 60-59. Butler then got going after a quiet first half. He converted a lob pass from Rondo for a three-point play, passed to Lopez for a baseline jumper and then had a pull up three off a Rondo steal for a 75-65 Bulls lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter. The Bulls extended that lead to 79-65 after a Wade three and led 86-75 going into the fourth quarter after a crucial Zipser three to break a Celtics run. Butler had 10 points in the third quarter. The Bulls moved back ahead 89-75 early in the fourth on Cristiano Felicio rolling to the basket off a Butler double team. Rondo then had one of those nifty drop step layups and Zipser with another pull up as the Bulls went ahead 95-82. Boston came back with a long Marcus Smart three over Wade, but then Wade came back at him with a three and a driving floater as the Bulls stunned the home team and crowd with a 102-86 lead with 6:01 left in the game. The Bulls pushed it out to 105-86 on a Wade three before the Celtics took advantage of some rare Bulls sloppiness in this game for six straight points. With 2:40 left in the game, the Bulls still were leading 105-92. Another Zipser three sent the fans to the streets. Fans booed the home team as the game ended.