The 14-win Chicago Bulls visited Boston Monday night as the Celtics continue the winning form in the midst of home stretch which sees them playing 6 of 7 games at home on the parquet. Chicago came into the game off a road win in Detroit Saturday night spearheaded by Zach LaVine who tallied 25 points. With Jayson Tatum coming off a career-high in points against NOLA, the 21 year old looked like he never left the building as he picked up exactly where he left off.
Daniel Theis was ruled out prior to the game meaning Brad Stevens and the coaching staff inserted the ever productive Enes Kanter into the starting lineup. Kanter has a nose for gobbling up rebounds and the big Turk was active early. Kanter scored 9 points and 5 rebounds in the first 5 minutes of regulation as he proved to be more than a handful for a thin Bulls frontline, who were without starting big man Wendall CarterJr.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were ultra aggressive to start the game and both were denied big time dunk attempts in the first quarter as the Celtics attacked the rim relentlessly. Kemba Walker (14 points, 3-6 from three) also looked in attack mode from the jump as he knived through traffic for a pair of exquisite layups and then drilled a three pointer against the retreating Bulls defenders.
As the wheels slowly appeared to fall off for Chicago in the second quarter, the Bulls shot just 34% from the field, it was pretty much one-way traffic for the Celtics. Grant Williams, Marcus Smart and Brad Wanamaker all provided solid contributions in the first half as the C’s saw no let down in play with the starters resting.
As far as lackadaisical starts to third quarters go, tonight was textbook for the Celtics as the door was left ajar for Chicago to make a run. Behind the explosive output of Zach LaVine and Thaddues Young, Chicago battled hard with a 34 point quarter to cut it to six late in the third. With the Bulls narrowing in on the Cs, it was Grant Williams who provided the spark for Boston with a nice rebound and finish in traffic, followed up by a straight on triple.
Grant Williams is 9-of-23 (39 percent) from 3-point range since snapping out of his 0-of-25 slump.— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) January 14, 2020
The Celtics would do enough to secure the win though as Jaylen Brown logged a solid night on both ends, finishing a perfect 9-9 from the FT line and 19 points. Gordon Hayward who was scoreless through three quarters, finally hit on a driving make in the 4th, he would finish with 8 points whilst registering a team-high 8 assists and nabbing 6 rebounds. Kanter was again productive with 15 points and 9 rebounds as a starter. Tatum would post 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks with none better than this exceptional block from behind.
The Celtics next face the Detroit Pistons in yet another home game, Wednesday at 7pm.