The ovation was quite pronounced this time around for returning forward Brian Scalabrine. Compared to the last time these teams met, which required an overtime period for a decision, the Celtics had this one well in hand by the time the closing minutes had arrived. With such a comfortable lead, the Boston faithful were able to turn their attention to where it really mattered, SCal. With several minutes left, cheers of Scalabrine! Scalabrine! cascaded the court as our favorite red head sat stoically on the Chicago bench. It was likely that he was smiling wide on the inside, knowing that he, the affable red-head, was so adored during his 5 years here in Boston. When he finally checked in with 1 minute and 7 seconds to play, the cheers were deafening. Hopefully Lebron James was watching, wherever he may find himself this evening.
Other than the poignant return of SCal, this game was filled with all the trademark Celtics characteristics. The team came out with a dominating first quarter, led by 10 points from Ray Allen in the first 9 minutes, putting the home team up 14 early. The customary 2nd quarter collapse ensued, as the Bulls were able to rally back with a 10-1 run to start the quarter, eventually tying the game at 34 all. After several a few back and forth baskets, the C’s were able to capture a lead once again, holding a 5 point edge heading into the locker room. Kevin Garnett had already amassed a double-double by the break, posting 16 points and 11 assists. It was a clear message to Joakim Noah, who called Garnett “mean” as well as “ugly” just a month ago, that KG is not concerned with what others think about him. Much like Lebron did last night, Kevin Garnett let his play do all the talking.
After the half, the Celtics came out with a dominant effort from both their little man and big man. Rondo and Shaq scored Boston’s first 9 points of the 2nd half, and before you knew it, the lead had already been stretched back to 11 points in 4 minutes of play. Rondo continued to be the maestro that he is, having a hand in all but 3 baskets scored in the quarter, as the Bulls had already been washed away before they could even begin the assess the damage. The C’s led by 15 after the 3rd, and it looked like the starters were going to get some rest in the final frame. They did. And much to the delight of Kevin Garnett, Gino also came out to play, which is ultimately what led way to SCal’s late game entrance. All went accordingly this evening, as the Celtics never trailed in the contest, and ended this one with a score of 104-92.
The MVP of the evening was a toss up between KG and Rondo, as the Big Ticket ended with 20 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists. Rondo recorded his millionth double-double of the season already, accumulating 12 points and 19 rebounds. Pierce added 18 of his own, and Ray and Shaq rounded off the double figure scorers with 14 and 12 respectively. As always with the Big Diesel, the Celtics were able to easily hold down the painted area, by a margin of 56-40. Also helping the C’s this evening was their minimizing of errors, as they committed only 9 total turnovers, well below their average of 14.6 per game.
On the Bulls side of things, Derrick Rose continued his junior year onslaught, posting 20 points and 8 assists. Noah ended with 14 points and 10 rebounds of his own, and newcomer Carlos Boozer, in only his 2nd game back, ended with a respectable 12 points on 4-10 shooting in 21 minutes.
The C’s, now winners of 6 straight, hit the road for a Sunday afternoon matinée against the Nets where they hope to make it 7 against a team who has now played (and lost) 2 straight over time contests.
About the Author
Written by Michael Johnson
I am a recent graduate of Endicott College having earned my Bachelors Degree in Communications. I bleed green and will until I die. If you'd like to talk sports I'm available on facebook and my email address is Johnson3448@comcast.net. You can also follow me on twitter @johnsoncookie.