The Boston Celtics knew going into tonight’s game, this was a must win. The Celtics lost a heartbreaker Saturday afternoon to the Chicago Bulls in overtime. Game 2 was their chance to tie the series 1-1 before going on the road to Chicago.
Right from the opening tip off the Celtics played with a sense of urgency. The Celtics jumped to an early 18-6 lead with Rajon Rondo controlling the tempo and Glen “Big Baby” Davis hitting open jumpers. However, the young Chicago Bulls team survived the opening onslaught with the help of shooting guard Ben Gordon. The Bulls went on a run on their own finishing the quarter out strongly and pulling within 6 points. At the end of the first quarter, the score was Boston 35 Chicago 29.
The Bulls continued their run at the start of the second quarter and took over the lead after being down by 12 points. Boston would answer back with Rondo pushing the offense. However, with 5 minutes left in the first half, Rondo injured his ankle on a fast break and would have to leave the game. The Celts offense would leave with him. Ben Gordon continued to drain jumpers, whether or not a hand was in his face. The Bulls again finished the quarter strongly, going on a 16-6 run. At the end of the first half, the score was Boston 58 Chicago 61.
Coach Doc Rivers tried to inspire his team at the half, specially his veterans urging them to step up and win this game for the team. Ray Allen continued his struggles finishing the first half with only 2 points. Well…that wouldn’t last. The game became an old fashioned shooters duel between Ben Gordon and Ray Allen in the second half. Ray Allen found his stroke in the third quarter, scoring 16 points in the quarter alone. Rondo would return in the second half with a heavily taped ankle. The Celtics needed Rondo out there even with him showing a limp as he ran down the court. Rondo would finish the game with a triple double. The Bulls countered with a simple offense. Give the ball to Ben Gordon and clear out. Gordon appeared to hit every single shot he threw up. At the end of the third quarter, the score was Boston 88 Chicago 87.
The fourth quarter became Ben Gordon’s show. Despite Boston’s attempts to double team Gordon as soon as he got the ball, he still found a way to score. Gordon would finish with a game high 42 points. Back and forth the lead traded hands with Gordon hitting two three pointers in a row to give the Bulls a 109-104 lead with less than 3 minutes to go. The Celtics would counter with two quick buckets of their own coming from Big Baby and Rondo to pull the Celtics within one. Gordon answered with yet another jumper to extend the Bulls lead 111-108 with less than two minutes. The Celtics and Gordon would go back and forth and with less than one minute left in the game, the Bulls held 113-112 lead. The sizzling Ray Allen hit a huge three pointer with 25 seconds left to give the Celtics a 115-113 lead. Of course, Ben Gordon would answer for the millionth time and tied the game 115-115.
The stage was set. 12 seconds remained in the game. Who would be the hero tonight? Coach Rivers asked the same question at the half. After being a non factor in game 1 and first half of game 2, Ray Allen proved no one can keep one of the greatest shooters down for too long. He exploded in the second half. But Ray wasn’t done. With the inbounds pass to Rondo and time ticking away, Allen freed himself and Rondo would not miss him. Allen launched a three pointer for the win and ignited the fans in green. This was an important win for the defending champions. The series is tied 1-1 and the Celtics have a chance to rest up for a few of days. Game 3 will be at Chicago, Thursday at 8 P.M.
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Written by johnw