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Halftime Hot Takes: Celtics staying aggressive and crashing the glass vs. Bulls

Through one half, the Celtics have dominated the paint, but they need to find an answer for DeMar DeRozan.

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

For the second time in two weeks, the Boston Celtics take on the Chicago Bulls. Last time around, Joe Mazzulla and Grant Williams both got ejected as the Celtics blew an early 19-point lead. One half into their second meeting of the season, things are looking a bit more promising, as the Celtics find themselves up 63-57.

While Jayson Tatum leads the way in the scoring column (18 points), it’s taken him 13 shots to get there (including four makes). Instead, it’s been Malcolm Brogdon who’s stood out the most on the offensive end. His 14 points sit right behind Tatum for second-best on the Celtics.

But what’s most impressive about their respective performances has been their dedication to getting into the paint. In fact, the entire Celtics team has made that a priority. Through the first half, they’ve attempted just 12 three-pointers. That ties their lowest total in a half so far this season. Brogdon has led the way in that regard, as all of his field goal attempts have been from inside the three-point line.

A similar story can be told for DeMar DeRozan, who has attempted 11 shots through the first two quarters, none of which have been threes. Instead, he’s been dialed in from the mid-range, per usual, and the Celtics can’t seem to find an answer. He’s shot 7-of-11 thus far and has 19 points, leading the way for Chicago.

Despite their recent defensive success, Chicago torched the Celtics in the first half, shooting 23-of-45 (51.1%) from the field, including 6-of-14 (42.9%) from distance. Boston allowed 31 points in the first quarter but just 26 in the second.

On a positive note, the Celtics have done a much better job of containing Chicago’s big men on the glass. In their previous matchup, Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond (who is inactive for tonight’s matchup) combined for 35 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards. But through the first half of tonight’s game, the Celtics have out-rebounded the Bulls 19-17.

Staying aggressive, not settling for isolation threes, and containing DeRozan will all be crucial for Boston if they want to finish off the Bulls in the second half.

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