The Boston Celtics did exactly what they were supposed to do Monday night against a Chicago team that entered the night with a 14-26 record: they disposed of it quickly.
Boston dominated the matchup from start to finish, pulling ahead by as many as 18 points during the second half and maintaining a comfortable lead before polishing off a 113-101 victory.
The Celtics caught their groove midway through the first quarter, when they quickly turned an 8-8 tie into a 16-8 lead with an 8-0 run. Enes Kanter and Kemba Walker, who each scored three points during the run, combined with Jaylen Brown, who scored two points, for the eight points over a span of just 51 seconds.
At the other end of the court, Boston’s defense was more dominant during the first quarter than it had been to start a game all season. It limited the Bulls to just 14 points, which set a new first-quarter low for C’s opponents this season. The previous low was 18 points, which was logged by two separate Celtics opponents.
The combination of Boston’s strong play at both ends helped it build a 16-point lead during the first period. Chicago did make a run during the third quarter, but the Celtics quickly answered and maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half.
Marcus Smart continues to bring it as the sixth man of the Boston Celtics.
Smart, who rarely puts up gaudy numbers but always provides consistency for the Celtics, continued that trend again Monday night. He came off of Boston’s bench and tied Gordon Hayward for the game high in assists with eight, while also leading the contest with three steals. Smart rounded out his box score with 12 points and five boards.
The great thing about Smart’s scoring was how efficiently it was racked up. He attempted only eight shots, making four, and two of those makes were from long distance. He finished the game having shot 50 percent from the field (4-for-8), 40 percent from the 3-point line (2-for-5) and 100 percent from the free-throw line (2-for-2).
Smart led the Celtics in playing time with more than 33 minutes of action. Boston dominated Chicago by 25 points during those minutes, which stands as the largest plus/minus rating of the game. The next-highest mark in that category was Hayward at plus-14.
Box Score Nuggets
- Six Celtics scored at least 11 points, led by Jayson Tatum's 21.
- Zach LaVine led the game in scoring with 30 points.
- Boston led by as many as 18 points.
- The Celtics tallied 28 assists, compared to just 12 turnovers.
- Marcus Smart led the game with three steals and also tied Gordon Hayward for the game high in assists with eight.
- Enes Kanter led the game with nine rebounds and also scored 15 points.
- Chicago outscored Boston in the paint (58-52) and in fast break points (20-15).
- Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson tied for the game high in blocks with two apiece.
- No player on Chicago's team grabbed more than six rebounds.
- Grant Williams came off the bench to tally 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.
- Jaylen Brown and LaVine each shot 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.
Quote of the Night
He was so engaged on Saturday night with leading and talking, and then today I thought he was great.
Brad Stevens on Marcus Smart