Rajon Rondo wanted to make sure the Chicago Bulls left his original home of Boston something to remember them by in game 2.
The much maligned former All-Star played his best brand of basketball on Tuesday night. He fell just short of a triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists (ties Bulls playoff record) and 9 rebounds. He turned back the clock and paced the Bulls from quarter 1 through 4. Dwyane Wade also had a stellar ballgame(22 points) after being nonexistent in game 1. The Bulls once again won the rebounding battle and had strong bench play led by 16 points from Paul Zipser. Considering the strengths and weaknesses of both squads the series so far should be a surprise to no one. Game two presented a continuation of storylines that many who favored the Bulls prior to the series saw. Here are some takeaways as we look ahead to Game 3.
Considering the strengths and weaknesses of both squads and the series so far should be a surprise to no one. Game two presented a continuation of storylines that many who favored the Bulls prior to the series saw. Here are some takeaways as we look ahead to Game 3.
Boston Has No Answer For the Bulls Down Low
Another game another rebounding battle lost by the Celtics. It was a tad tighter at 43-38 yet the Bulls lead in the series by 22. Al Horford is completely overmatched by a fantastic Robin Lopez down low. Lopez is an offensive rebounding specialist who shined again with 18 poins to go with his 8 rebounds. Brad Stevens pulled out all the stops including giving Tyler Zeller some extra minutes in lieu of Amir Johnson. The Bulls continued to have an answer for everything the Celtics tried and continued to dominate. Again, the Celtics might have served themselves better making some sort of move to bolster their forces down low during the season. Too little too late.
Can the Bulls Big 3 Continue to Shine?
In a season with a multitude of ups and downs, the big 3 of Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo played one of their best games of the season in Game 2. Along with Rondo’s near triple-double and Wade’s 22, Jimmy Butler added 22 points in a completely dominant game on the perimeter for the Windy City. The concern coming into the season was the fact that among the 3 none of them are pure perimeter shooters. However, with Nikola Mirotic having a better game and the ability of Zipser and Bobby Portis during this series to stretch the floor, the defense is forced to stretch. Butler, Rondo, and Wade took full advantage abusing the Celtics from midrange and on the drive. Consistent and complete games from them will be key going forward in this series and beyond.
Rondo-Wade-Butler 3-man lineup thru the first 2 gms of the series:
114.9 Off Rtg
90.4 Def Rtg
24.5 Net Rtg
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) April 19, 2017
Isaiah Thomas Needs Support
What Isaiah Thomas is doing amid his grief is awe-inspiring. He had a pedestrian game two with only 20 points including 1-5 from the 3 point line but he is clearly the only consistent offensive factor on the team. The Bulls came early with double teams and the 5’9 Thomas is not enough to consistently face that kind of adversity down low with success. The Celtics have no one to punish Chicago when they double. Al Horford managed only 7 points on 3-8 shooting. Avery Bradley went an inefficient 5-15 and struggled to contain Wade and Butler all game. Not only in this series but going forward, the Celtics need to make moves to add another dynamic scorer to assist their leader.
Going forward the Celtics need to shore up their holes or they are going to be in even more trouble. The Bulls are playing with great confidence from their seasoned veterans all the way down to their rookies on the bench. They will travel to Chicago to attempt to bounce back on Friday at 7 pm est.