The Boston Celtics keep losing pieces, but keep finding ways to win, using the same kind of basketball and defense the Chicago Bulls do, just with a fourth quarter that was good enough to give them the win, without anyone really worth mentioning on the offensive side, in one of the ugliest games of the season.
Some people love this kind of basketball. “Old-School” they call it. Sometimes it really is about elite defense. You can say that Avery Bradley is an elite defensive players. You can say the Chicago Bulls are an elite defensive team. And still, the 71-69 win by the Boston Celtics gave a feeling of two terrible offenses who made the defenses on both sides look great.
Some numbers? The two teams shot a combined 36.6% from the field. They combined for a total of 140 points, the third-fewest combined points by two teams in a game this season. The two “worse” games both involved the 76ers, in games against the Magic and the Hornets, Yielding a total score of 139 points.
You want more? The two teams combined for 21 points in the third quarter Wednesday, the second-fewest combined points by two teams in ANY quarter this season. On November 13, the Raptors (5) and Pacers (14) combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter. Almost the worse, but not it.
When it came to the teams themselves, both in the top 7 of the Eastern Conference, things did hit rock bottom. The Boston Celtics had a great fourth quarter, shooting 11-16 and winning it 28-20 when the game actually looked like something meant for basketball viewers to tune in to. The Bulls couldn’t match that revival, and kept up stinking up the arena with turnovers, inexplicable shot making and decision making by their players.
The Celtics scored a total of 19 points in the second and third quarters, combined(!!!). They were 17-60 from the field until the fourth quarter, which is 28.3% from the field if you took time to do the math. Meanwhile, the Bulls’ starters scored only 37 points together, the fewest points by Chicago’s starting five in ANY game this season. They also turned the ball over 20 times, which the Celtics could only turn into 22 points. Eventually, despite all of the ugliness in the game, which was about two offenses that simply couldn’t run a normal set play successfully for what seemed like an endless amount of time, the free throw shooting might have made the difference.
The Bulls made 12-17, the Celtics were 10-12. After the game, with no one really deserving play for brilliant basketball (highest scorer in the game was Brandon Bass with 14 points), all both teams could talk about was getting a few days of rest due to the All-Star break.
The Celtics – I told them it’s going to be an ugly game. And this is before the game. The last game before the All-Star break is a strange game. You’ve got half the guys who are tired, you’ve got a group of guys who are already in the Dominican Republic. And then you have banged-up guys. So you have a lot of things going on in that game, and you could see it.
And the Bulls didn’t have much to say but agree – We definitely need a break right now. It’s been a long first half of the season, and we just need to regroup because we’re not playing very well right now.