Derrick Rose returned to the line-up after missing the last game with turf toe. He hardly showed any sign of the injury in a match-up against a head-to-head position arch-rival, Rajon Rondo.
The Celtics were showing their age in many ways all game long. At the start of the game, the Bulls outran the Celtics fairly well, holding them to only 13 points in the first quarter. It would have been 11 points, if not for a questionable foul at the buzzer. John Lucas III laid an egg in just 9 minutes of play by going scoreless and barely allowing the MVP a breather.
Later in the game, veteran Ray Allen was able to get hot and put together a run for Boston. However, that was not enough, as the Bulls starters were clicking all night long. Former Finals MVP, Paul Pierce, was sluggish all game long, giving the Bulls an opportunity to focus on Rondo and newly acquired Brandon Bass.
Rose made all of the difference in this game. The Celtics final push fell short, after Derrick took over to break the gap wide open in the second half. The Celtics were unable to get closer than five points in the fourth, as the Bulls win 88-79.
Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have been facing harsh criticism of late. More Noah, for his sloppy play and loss on control on the boards. Despite Noah’s recent thumb strain, he performed as usual in Boston by grabbing 12 rebounds. He also scored 10 and blocked 4 shots. Boozer executed well, despite a lower point total than expected of a man of his contract and credentials. He scored 12, with 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Luol Deng was the high performer of the game, grabbing a game high 16 rebounds and scoring 21 points. His emergence on the rebounds of late, is attributed to Deng regaining most of his speed and athleticism, after having an injury riddled season after season, and playing banged up last year.
The Bulls defeat the Boston Celtics 88-79 to move to 11-2 for the year. They also move back into the NBA’s #1 ranked defense after a 3rd straight sub 80pt allowance. Bulls opponents are averaging 85.3 points per game.
Next Game: Saturday at home against the Toronto Raptors. Tip-off at 7:00PM CST
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