'Just One Of Those Games': Celtics Survive Ugly One Against Bulls

Yeah, it was that kind of game. - Jared Wickerham

In perhaps the ugliest spectacle in the history of James Naismith's great game, the Celtics sputtered their way to a victory over the Chicago Bulls. Hey -- a win's a win, right?

Technically, it's still Wednesday, and All-Star Weekend doesn't start for another, oh, 36 hours or so. But judging from the level of play in the Celtics' tilt tonight with the visiting Chicago Bulls, there were a handful of guys who already left on vacation, if not physically then at least in spirit.

In other words: Woof, this was an ugly one.

"Doc gave me the opportunity to take the night off," Kevin Garnett mused postgame. "I should have [expletive] took it."

Yeah, it was that kind of game. No one looked like they wanted to be there, but by golly, they're being paid millions to play a kids' game, so they found the fortitude to slog through 48 whole minutes.

There were turnovers, there were blown defensive assignments, there was CLANG after CLANG after CLANG on the TD Garden rims. Eventually, the Celtics scampered away with a win, 71-69 to finish an 8-1 stretch going into the break. But they weren't proud of it.

"I just thought it was one of those games," C's coach Doc Rivers said. "As we know, the last game before break is always a strange game. You got half the guys tired, you've got a group of guys that are already in the Dominican Republic, and then you have the young guys. You could see it on both sides."

The Celtics started incredibly strong, getting out to a 20-9 lead with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter. They looked untouchable. Then it all fell apart -- four points in the last three minutes of the first quarter, 11 in the entire second, then a measly 8 in the third. It was the Celtics' worst offensive stretch in years -- nay, decades.

"I've never been a part of something like that," Jason Terry laughed. "I'm from the Western Conference. We score 9 in one minute."

In a weird sort of way, this may have been the Celtics' most impressive win of all. Because despite their absolutely abysmal offense, the C's stayed in the game, and with relentless defensive pressure led by guard Avery Bradley, they eventually managed to turn things around going into the fourth.

"You win games on the defensive end, and that's what we did tonight," Bradley said. "We tried to make everything hard for their guards. I just tried to get them out of their offense, tried to speed them up. Everybody played great team defense tonight."

In the end it wasn't Bradley, but rather Terry of all people making the defensive play of the night. With the Bulls down two and needing a putback off a missed free throw to save the game, they got the ball to Marco Belinelli in the final seconds with a chance for buzzer-beating heroics. Belinelli, who beat the Celtics in the final seconds a month ago, had the chance to do it again, but this time Terry blocked his game-tying shot and the Celtics held on for the win.

"It was a situation similar to last time," Terry said. "The clock's winding down, and it just ends up in this guy's hands. But fortunately, I'd been thinking about it the last two weeks. Watched that game tonight before this game, and if it came down to that again, I told myself I was going to get the stop at all costs."

Indeed he did, and as a result, the Celtics survive. But there's no doubt that the Celtics, despite winning eight of their last nine games and positioning themselves for an upward surge in the East standings, are desperate for this upcoming All-Star break.

"It's coming at the right time," Paul Pierce said. "There's just so many things going on over the last couple weeks for us, mentally and physically. I think this is the perfect time for a break, especially with the injuries we have."

There you have it. The C's are 28-24, looking stronger than they have at any point this season, but a break will do them nothing but good.

Then again, you could argue their break already began yesterday.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker