By MyFM's Jake Archer - Last night at the Garden, the Boston Celtics took firm control of their first round series by beating the Chicago Bulls 108-97. After dropping the first two at home, the Celtics have now won three straight and seem to have demoralized the Bulls.
Though star point guard Isaiah Thomas had 24 points and grabbed six rebounds, he actually had a bit of an off game. He missed his first four shots and didn’t make a basket until he hit a three-pointer just before the half. He would come out for the third quarter with a different headband and different shoes as a superstition to change his luck. It seemed to work, as he played much better from that point on.
The Celtics also got key contributions from Al Horford, Avery Bradley and even Kelly Olynyk. Bradley is always great on defense, but last night he stepped up on the offensive end and tied Isaiah Thomas with a team-high 24 points. Olynyk added 14 much needed points off the bench. Horford though, has been playing really great basketball as of late. He dropped 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and registered nine assists and a steal. During this series, he’s really stepped up and been worth the money he’s getting paid.
On the other side, the Bulls are a mess. Their defense was terrible, their offensive strategy was confusing and the coaching was poor. They were in that game more than they should have been and even had the lead entering the final quarter. But their best player, Jimmy Butler, wasn’t being used nearly enough and there just seemed to be no adjustments made on Chicago’s side. It’s like they just kind of go out there and hope that things will fall their way.
The Bulls aren’t dead yet but their body language isn’t good and I think they’re about 85% unraveled. When your coach is complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying the ball, you’ve got a guy who makes excuses and has a bad mentality. When he then is questioned on Isaiah’s alleged carrying again and he gets bent out of shape and storms out of his postgame interview, you’ve got a guy that just can’t handle the job.
Not only do you have that type of losing attitude leading your team, but I don’t think the players are a very resilient group. Once Rajon Rondo went down, I knew that the key to a Bulls series win was probably gone. He may try to come back and play in Game 6, but he won’t be the same with a broken thumb. I wouldn’t bet against the Bulls packing it in and getting blown out in Chicago.
Game 6 is tomorrow night, and tipoff will be at 8 p.m. ET. Tune in to see if the Celtics can close it out and move on or if the Bulls put up any sort of fight at all.