The Celtics, on the second night of a home-and-home series against the Bulls, fell 94-80 in Chicago. Joakim Noah, guys. Joakim. Noah.
Even with Rajon Rondo behind the mic instead of in uniform tonight, the C’s still managed to keep up with Chicago from the tip. The majority of the first quarter offense came from Jerryd Bayless and Kris Humphries, who combined for 15 points and three assists (both on 3-4 shooting).
If you didn’t catch the game on CSN, you may have not heard that Rondo sat in with Mike Gorman for tonight’s first half. I believe the original plan was for him to join in for just the first quarter, but Rondo settled in after a few minutes and decided to stick around a little longer. At first, he mostly just responded to Mike Gorman (who did a great job of prompting Rondo), but R.R. started loosening up in the second quarter. It’s always cool to hear a recent/current player take a shot at broadcasting. I remember hearing Scal talk X’s & O’s when he’d sit in with Mike and Tommy. Rondo provided much of the same tonight.
Before the starters let a nine-point lead dwindle down to two at halftime, the bench guys stepped in and opened things up (at least by these team’s standards). That nine-point lead was due largely in part to Chris Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and Phil Pressey — who combined for 16 points and four steals at the half. Together, they sparked both the offense and Rondo’s admiration. Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls at the half with 10 points on 3-6 shooting. C’s led 50-48.
Both team’s offenses stalled out to start the third quarter. As Masslive’s Jay King tweeted, the C’s first points came on a Jeff Green three-pointer around four minutes into the period. Fortunately, the Bulls couldn’t convert any better…Kirk Hinrich even air balled a free throw at one point. Things picked up towards the end of the quarter, where Phill Pressey had a couple steals and hit a three. Sully put back a missed free throw (and got hit in the face pretty hard), and Chris Babb got a little burn.
Chicago took their turn opening things up to start the fourth quarter (Deja Vu, anyone?). Although D.J. Augustin stunk it up after his career high last night (1-9 from the field), an ugly Joakim Noah jump shot saved the day for Chicago, and gave the Bulls their first double-digit lead at 80-70. Noah really is a nightmare in the fourth quarter — his one-handed pass to Taj Gibson snuck straight through Sully’s raised arms, and then he scored himself about 20 seconds later. To make matters worse, the C’s opened up the fourth the exact same way they opened up the third, with four minutes of scoreless basketball. Gotta feel for Brad Stevens at times like these. Boston tried to chuck their way back into things like they did last night behind Jared Sullinger, and Bayless did hit back-to-back threes, bringing a 15 point lead down to around 10. Still, it wasn’t nearly enough to stop Noah’s late-game buckets, and the C’s faded away without much of a fight. Boston finished the fourth quarter with a whopping 10 points scored. As Mike Gorman mentioned at the final buzzer, Boston’s officially been eliminated from the playoffs.
Things we learned from Rondo’s color analyst debut
Rondo on what he learned from KG & Paul: “Can’t pick & choose when you’re gonna be a leader. If you’re gonna be it, gotta do it every day.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 1, 2014
Rondo telling a story about him and Noah ends it with: “We squashed it, there’s no beef”
— Jay O (@MrTrpleDouble10) April 1, 2014
Rondo calls Hinrich one of the strongest guards in the game
— Jay O (@MrTrpleDouble10) April 1, 2014
- Brandon Bass had 18 points (7-10 shooting), nine rebounds, and four blocks. A quiet but very solid night.
- The Celtics didn’t commit a turnover in the first quarter.
- Phil Pressey was quick: He had nine points (4-8 shooting), and four steals.
- Avery Bradley (0-5 in the first half) didn’t play in the second half due to a sore right ankle (The Saga continues). Abby Chin said trainers were taking precaution and that it isn’t serious.
- Boston scored 10 points in the fourth quarter (30 points total in the second half).
- C’s shot 7-25 from deep, good for an icy %28 percent.
- Noah finished with 19 points 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Rondo getting doused by Benny
- Both teams shot %47 through the first three quarters.
- Total rebounds were close: Bulls had 40, Celtics with 37.
- Bulls had 28 assists.
- First time Chicago sweeps season series over Boston since the 2006-07 season.