Despite missing Al Horford (knee), Aron Baynes (ankle) and Robert Williams (personal), the Boston Celtics cruised to an easy 133-77 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The game was never in doubt after Boston started the contest with a 17-0 lead. The Bulls spent the first 6 minutes of the game scoreless, and the Celtics never looked back.
It took until the 5:42 mark of the first quarter for Jabari Parker to put the Bulls on the scoreboard with some freethrows. Chicago’s second unit did a much better job than their starting unit, scoring literally all of the Bulls points in the opening frame. No exaggeration, the starting lineup for the Bulls scored 0 points; the bench scored 17.
Theis (career-high 22 points) started the contest strong just like virtually everyone on the team. Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum combined for 19 points in the first quarter, and the Celtics carried a 35-17 lead into the second quarter.
Chicago’s first unit subbed back in at the start of the second unit, and this time it only took them a minute to get on the board with Zach LaVine’s freethrows. Although their first unit looked a lot less dysfunctional in the second quarter, Boston’s bench unit didn’t let up. It’s almost unfair to be a contending team that gets to bring Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown all off the bench to punish opposing second units.
Rozier looked a lot stronger than he has of late, starting with a burst of 10 points in 8 minutes in his first stint. The Celtics had plenty of opportunities to step on Chicago’s throat, but playing cute in the second quarter made it annoyingly in reach until the Celtics closed out the quarter on a high note, extending the lead to 64-43 behind an 8-0 run.
Boston started the third quarter the same way it ended the others, extending their lead well into the 30s. Tatum and Theis played exceptionally well in the frame, adding to their bloated totals. Tatum finished the game with 18 points. Zach LaVine and his 11 points made him the only Bulls starter to finish in double figures. The Celtics ended the third with a 93-60 lead.
I’ll be honest, anything after the halfway mark of the third quarter all falls under the “Celtics are good and the Bulls are bad.” I’ll spare you by summarizing it like that. Jaylen Brown came off the bench to drop 23 points to lead all scorers, and Theis was right behind him with 22. Additionally, Theis was an insane +50 on the night. Boston got a good run out of its second and third string, and the lead ballooned up to 58 in the second half.
The fourth quarter brought a couple of highlights (and lowlights), including a pair from Jaylen Brown:
Unfortunately, Guerschon Yabusele came down on his ankle hard (ban ankles, am I right?) and had to be helped to the locker room. With the team already missing Baynes, hopefully this injury isn’t too serious.
Otherwise, everything went well. Every player who checked in notched at least one assist, the Celtics made 22 3-pointers (which would have been a franchise record if the Celtics hadn’t broken that record earlier this season), 7 players scored in double figures, and the team is taking advantage of a soft spot in the schedule. Boston set a franchise record for largest margin of victory with tonight’s 56-point win.
The 15-10 Boston Celtics take on the 13-14 New Orleans Pelicans on Monday at 7:30PM EST.