The last time the Boston Celtics played a game in Chicago, they demolished the Bulls by 56 points, creating the most lopsided win in franchise history. This time around, things didn't go so easy breezy for Boston in the Windy City.
Chicago came out playing like a completely different team in Saturday night's rematch at United Center, as it was able to put the Celtics away before halftime, largely thanks to a 22-5 run to start off the second quarter.
Boston's offense started off hot, shooting 60 percent from the field during the first quarter to help it get off to a 33-28 lead. However, the C's completely cooled off once the second quarter began, as they did not make a field goal for the first 3:58 of the frame.
The Bulls, led by their second unit, hit six shots during that span, allowing them to take a 42-34 lead. And they were just getting started.
Chicago wound up knocking down 9-of-13 from the field during the first 6:34 of the second quarter. During that same time frame, the C's made just two field goals – one by Jaylen Brown and one by Jayson Tatum – as they watched their 33-28 lead turn into a 50-38 deficit.
The Bulls continued to roll through the quarter, taking a 13-point lead into halftime, before blowing the game open during the third quarter, when they went up by as many as 25 points.
Boston showed some spark during the final frame, pulling to within nine points down the stretch, but its offensive drought during the second quarter proved to be too much to overcome, as it fell 126-116.
Kyrie Irving created more than half of Boston's offensive production Saturday night, scoring or assisting on 59 of its 116 points.
Thirty-seven of those points came directly off his fingertips, as he tallied a team-high in the scoring column. The other 22 points came from his 10 assists, which led to four Al Horford buckets, three Daniel Theis field goals, two Marcus Morris baskets and one Jayson Tatum bucket.
For Irving, it was his 15th double-double of the season, and just the fifth 35-point, 10-assist game of his career. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to help lift the C's over the Bulls in the end.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kyrie Irving led the Celtics in both points (37) and assists (10).
- Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen both had career-high scoring efforts with 42 points and 35 points, respectively.
- Markkanen also led the game in rebounding with 15 boards. No one else corralled more than seven.
- The Celtics were out-rebounded 49-32.
- Irving exceeded 40 minutes for the second straight game.
- Both teams attempted 21 free throws. Of those, Boston made 16 and Chicago made 20.
- The Bulls had a 22-12 advantage in fast-break points.
- Boston turned the ball over seven times, while Chicago coughed the rock up 13 times.
- Chicago's 126 points represented a season-high.
- Irving was the only Celtics player to have a positive plus/minus rating. He finished with a plus-4.
Quote of the Night
We've just gotta come out and play with the energy that we know we can play with, no matter the opponent. It's not about who we're playing, it's about us.
Jaylen Brown on the Celtics' effort.