The Boston Celtics needed a remarkable three pointer from Ray Allen to win Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls to tie the series 1-1. For Game 3, the Celtics would not need any last second heroics. Thursday night the Celtics showed why they are the number 2 seed. Boston came into Chicago and controlled the game from the first minute of the first quarter to the buzzer to end the game.
Paul Pierce was hot early. Pierce struggled in the first two games, but he worked with the coaches in between game 2 and 3. Coach Doc Rivers wanted to create open looks for Pierce by creating more spacing. Early in the first quarter, Pierce took advantage of those open looks. In 9 minutes on the floor, Pierce went 6/7 FGs and led the Celtics with 13 points in the first. The Celtics jumped to an early lead to start the game, similar to game 2. However, this time around the Celtics did it with their defense. The Bulls turned the ball over 9 times in the first quarter alone finishing the game with 22 turnovers.
In the second quarter, the 2nd unit for the Celtics struggled to find their offensive rhythm early on. Coach Rivers made great substitutions though, bringing back the starters as soon as the Bulls tried to make a run. The Celtics increased the tempo and took advantage of Bulls’ turnovers. To end the 2nd quarter, the Celts went on a 22-8 run and led at the half, Boston 59 – Chicago 37. Pierce was the leading scorer at the half with 18 points, 7-9 FGs.
The second half was more of the same. The Celtics continued to shoot the ball well and take advantage of Bulls’ turnovers. Though the Bulls tried desperately to get back in the game in the 3rd quarter, the Celtics would hold them off with shots of their own. Coach Rivers played with a smaller team for extended periods during the game going with two PGs on the floor, Rajon Rondo and Stephon Marbury. The smaller team kept the pressure on the Bulls. Rondo finished the game with 20 points, 6 assists and Marbury finished with 13 points, 5 assists. At the end of the 3rd quarter, it was Boston 83 – Chicago 58.
Essentially, the game was over at the end of the 3rd quarter. The starters were allowed to rest in the 4th quarter saving their energy for game 4. Pierce would finish the game with 24 points in 27 minutes, leading all players. The final score was Boston 107 – Chicago 86. Boston regained home court advantage and leads the series 2-1. There is no doubt the young Bulls team will play Game 4 angry after being annihilated in game 3. Game 4 will be at Chicago at 1pm on Sunday where the Celtics will have an opportunity to go up in the series 3-1 before they come back home to Boston.
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Written by johnw