Keys to the Game: Celtics 107, Bulls 100

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

Bad teams fold under pressure. Good teams? They power right through it, and that’s exactly what the Boston Celtics did during Wednesday night’s 107-100 victory over the previously undefeated Chicago Bulls.

The Celtics led by as many as 16 points during the fourth quarter before squandering that cushion away. Chicago tied the game at 100-100 with 1:57 left in the game.

At that moment, it would have been easy for the C’s to fold. The pressure was undoubtedly on them. Instead, they rose up and persevered through adversity.

Boston scored the final seven points of the game thanks to a balanced offensive attack and strong defense. Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart each dropped in impressive driving layups during the final 83 seconds of the game, while Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko combined to make three free throws.

At the other end of the court, the C’s forced four straight misses from Chicago to end the game. Johnson contributed a critical tip-out rebound to Avery Bradley with 46.0 seconds left in the game to help seal the win.

Key Player

Isaiah Thomas just keeps doing it. Over, and over, and over.

He notched his first double-double of the season Wednesday night while turning in game highs of 23 points, 10 assists and three steals.

Not bad, right? Well, it was even better than it sounds.

Thomas made eight of his 18 field goal attempts, four of his seven shots from long range, and three of his four free throw attempts. One of those makes came off of a driving, acrobatic, up-and-under layup with 1:23 left in the game to give Boston a 103-100 lead.

Boston’s All-Star point guard has now scored at least 23 points in all four games this season. He has also averaged 7.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Let’s wait and see what he can do Thursday night against the defending champs.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Three players (Isaiah Thomas, Amir Johnson and Jimmy Butler) tied for the game high in points.
  • Boston led by as many as 16 points.
  • All five of Boston's starters scored at least 10 points.
  • Thomas dished out a game-high 10 assists.
  • Johnson also tallied six rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
  • No Chicago player tallied more than five assists.
  • Both teams scored 12 second-chance points.
  • None of Boston's reserves scored more than seven points.
  • Johnson made all four of his 3-point attempts. His previous career high was two.
  • Rajon Rondo tallied the game's other double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
  • The Celtics committed only 12 turnovers.
  • All five of Chicago's starters finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-six or worse.

Quote of the Night

Brad Stevens on the Celtics playing small-ball against Chicago.