The #1 seed in the Eastern Conference are down 0-2 after losing to the Bulls at home 111-97. It was one of those nights; a bit more frustrating to watch than anything. At first the Celtics went on a 7-0; then the Bulls went on their own run as well, a 20-4 run rather. Once again the Celtics got out-rebounded 43-38, not as big as a deficit from last time, but still a problem the Celtics have. Leading the team for the Celtics, as always, was Thomas with 20 points; followed by Crowder with 16 points. The Bulls, on the other hand, had Butler and Wade go for 22 points each and Robin Lopez added 18 points to the cause as well. Rondo seemed to be passing the ball around tonight as well; 14 assists.
So if anything the Celtics’ defense was mediocre at best; letting guys like Wade and Lopez to just drive right to the hoop and rack up the score. The starting five for the Bulls scored 11+ points, they were outscored in the paint 52-44, and their FG% and 3P% was better than the Celtics. The defense simply didn’t show up tonight. Guys like Bradley shot from the 3 point line 8 times and only made 2, Thomas shot 5 and only made 1, Crowder shot 6 and only made 2. We’re not a three point team, but guys like Thomas should be making those shots; along with Bradley as well. Out of all the Celtics, Hordford didn’t have a good night whatsoever. Aside from rebounding, he logged in 31 minutes and only scored 7 points; compared to the last game he was second behind Thomas in scoring.
Now Boston media and other news outlets are criticizing the Celtics for being the #1 seed and being behind 0-2 in the first round of the playoffs. Quite frankly they’re right, it’s embarrassing to watch them get beat by the lowest seed in the playoffs. The only answer on what can solve their problem is what I, and many others, have said all season long. GET A STAR PLAYER TO HELP THOMAS! Danny Ainge had a treasure cove of picks that he could of traded to get guys like Jimmy Butler or DeMacrus Cousins or Paul George. Instead he keeps them and is now paying the price. By the way; the last team #8 seed to beat a #1 seed in the NBA playoffs were, of all teams, the 76ers against the Bulls in 2012. There have been 4 other occasions, but that series was the latest one.
Now the Celtics head on the road, down 0-2, playing against a Bulls team with all the confidence in the world. The Celtics not only need to win Game 3, but win this series as well; the amount of criticism Ainge will get if the Celtics lose will be huge. Coach Brad Stevens will be questioned as well, seeing how he’s brought this team to the playoffs three straight times and has gotten knocked out the first round the first two time. If he loses this series, that will be the third time he’s failed to coach his team past the first round. The regular season does not matter, the playoffs bring out the best in players, and right now it’s not in favor of the Celtics.
If the Celtics have any confidence left, now would be the time to show it. They can not lose this series, the whole franchise will be questioned and whether or not Ainge/Stevens should even be in Boston. The Celtics play the Bulls at Chicago on Friday at 7pm.