To start, we have two plays that set the tone for the whole game. The first Celtics bucket comes off a Kendrick Perkins offensive rebound. The second was off a Rajon Rondo offensive rebound. Then, Perkins does the single most unfathomable play I’ve seen so far; he looks off an open Paul Pierce three so he can dribble in, spin around, and shoot a fade away jumper just inside the free throw line. It went in, but I’m still disgusted.
Perkins grabs another offensive board for a put back. Rondo snags yet another and dishes it to Pierce for a baseline jam. That’s eight second chance points for Boston and eight total points for Chicago to this point.
The big adjustment here is Chicago’s spacing. It still looks congested, but they gave Ben Gordon some room to work here:
Having three guys that close to the paint is still blasphemous by today’s standards, but at least one side is cleared out.
Of course, the ongoing story of 2009 was about all the injuries, and with Garnett out, Glen Davis and Perkins carrying the Celtics for half of a game was a godsend. After 12 first quarter points, Davis already looked gassed. As for Perkins, I think we may have underrated him as one of the sweatiest basketball players of all time. Leon Powe, who didn’t come back for the second half, was running as if he had two broken legs. Mikki Moore played 11 minutes and was -17.
Some defensive woes, described by these two pictures:
Rajon Rondo falls on his foot almost like Gordon Hayward did in his first game with the Celtics, just without tearing his foot completely off. Despite limping off, he ultimately played 40 minutes, which was pretty much the entire rest of the game. Letting him rest would mean letting his ankle tighten up on the bench, so they had no choice.
Joakim Noah is looking like the true predecessor to the modern utility big. He spends a chunk of time covering Eddie House, who doesn’t look like he knows how to react. Noah is a good enough defender that it’s not a mismatch, but I still think a guard in today’s game would try to attack him. Rondo gets him on a switch later with the shot clock winding down, and sticks a shot right in his face.
Hobbling Rondo is back out, but Pierce is taking over a share of the point guard duties. In theory, this is something they should have been doing anyway with Eddie House playing off ball all the time. I mean, if you can run the offense through Glen Davis as often as they did, then they might as well have Pierce just as involved? I guess the argument against it is that you’d rather conserve as much of his energy as possible with an injury-decimated roster.
My favorite thing that happened this quarter was Joakim Noah shushing a Boston crowd that was quiet at the time, but had taunted him five minutes ago. He just needed to score a basket before he could clap back.
This quarter becomes such a panic attack that I honestly forgot to take notes for half of it. Ben Gordon starts lighting the Celtics up. Derrick Rose is blocking jump shots. Kendrick Perkins looks like he might pass out.
As you may know, Ben Gordon scores 42 points in this game in a death match with Ray Allen. Here’s a highlight video somebody made with an absolutely bizarre selection of visual effects and music:
My favorite part is that this video is uploaded on two different YouTube channels, which means somebody thought it was worth stealing. I love the internet.
Boston finishes the game with 21 offensive rebounds because nobody on the Bulls can physically move Perkins or Davis. The Bulls finish with 13 blocks - Tyrus Thomas had six of them.
Finally, please enjoy this small album of Kevin Garnett pictures I screenshotted after the Celtics hit clutch shots: