Bulls 89, Celtics 80 — FINAL
Revenge was on the minds of those not named Derrick Rose in Chicago on Thursday; it was revenge that was had. The Bulls managed to keep the Celtics at bay sans Derrick Rose which is a reversal of the Sunday meeting between these two teams.
Can you believe it? Is it Christmas already? Where’s 34th Street because this has to be a miracle, the Bulls actually managed to win a game against a team without Derrick Rose.
The knee jerk critics will wake up tomorrow and have to find something else to peddle to make a buck because the story of the Bulls not operating without Rose is deader then Celtics offense was. The Bulls were playing with a chip on their shoulder and it showed — especially for one Bull in particular.
Luol Deng went for 23 points in the win, draining six three pointers in the process. Carlos Boozer also added 23 points and Joakim Noah finished with fifteen. All three of them posted double-doubles.
“I think we’re all confident in our abilities, but we know that we’re not getting to where we want to get to without that guy,” Noah said.
One of the reasons the Bulls were able to come out on top this time was in the rebounding game. Chicago finished plus 15 rebounding with Noah owing 16 of the 52 team rebounds. Carlos Boozer almost matched Noah’s total but fell a rebound short with 15.
But any game that Boozer rebounds fifteen times is a good game.
Noah split his rebounds evenly between offensive and defensive boards. But all of Boozer’s fifteen rebounds came as defensive ones.
The Bulls got off to a slow start, but were able to battle back. That’s huge considering the guy usually fueling the close out game was on the bench for a fifth straight game.
“I thought we came out soft in the first quarter,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They got us back on our heels. We were not taking it up strong, and they are very good defensively.”
Chicago owned a 12-6 second chance points difference which became a deciding factor down the stretch when after the score was tied at 69-69, the Bulls went on a tear eventually leading 81-69.
Another blemish is Ronnie Brewer who didn’t score a single point. Rip Hamilton is “making progress” towards a return and Brewer can’t have a repeat performance offensively.
But the Bench Mob helped out with the production as Mike James returned to the Bulls with 8 points and four assists off the bench. Every member of the Bench Mob that was active scored with Kyle Korver’s three points coming in second in terms of points off the bench along with two steals. Taj Gibson and Omer Asik added ten rebounds combined to the Bulls final total as well.
The Bulls addressed the media manufactured chip on their shoulder by taking a 2-1 season series lead on the Celtics. They won’t meet again until April 5th in a game that could determine playoff seedings at that point.
But for now Chicago can relish it’s revenge and look forward to what should be an easy game against the New Jersey Nets at home on Saturday.