The Boston Celtics weathered a storm from DeMar DeRozan on Friday night, taking down the Chicago Bulls 124-119. With the win, they improved to 5-3 on the season and avenged the October 24 meltdown in Chicago.
Jayson Tatum led the way in the scoring column with 36 points. He took a career-high 20 free throws, nailing 17 of them. However, it was Malcolm Brogdon who stole the show for Boston on the offensive end. Brogdon dropped 25 points off the bench on 9-of-10 shooting from the field - all without taking a three.
Brogdon caused fits for Chicago’s defense, as he was able to repeatedly get into the paint and score with ease. The veteran guard struggled a bit in the turnover department (four), but his top-notch scoring output masked the issue. Nobody on the Bulls could keep up with him as he cruised to his highest scoring total of the season.
Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart also chipped in with solid performances, scoring 16 and 12 points respectively. Meanwhile, big man Al Horford (11 points) put in a solid shift as well, showing off some aggressiveness at 36 years old.
The same could be said for DeRozan, however. He scored an impressive 46 points, dominating the mid-range. DeRozan was making shots in any coverage the Celtics threw at him. The veteran wing, like Tatum, lived at the free throw line, sinking 20-of-22 from the stripe. His help came in the form of co-stars Nikola Vucevic (24 points) and Zach LaVine (16 points).
Boston managed to patch the rebounding woes from their last matchup against the Bulls. They were out-boarded 60-45 last time around, with Nikola Vucevic accounting for 23 of them (including 10 on the offensive glass). But in this one, the Celtics managed to hold their own, grabbing 38 boards to Chicago’s 37. As for Vucevic, he still managed to pull down 12 (three offensive).
The Celtics also cut back on the three-pointers against the Bulls. They took just 31 three-pointers, which marks their lowest total of the season. Their previous low was 33 attempts, which has happened twice; once in their win over the Miami Heat and once in their first loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite multiple runs by the Bulls due to transition buckets and strings of three-pointers, Boston was able to hold on and pick up their fifth win of the season. They’ll now travel to Madison Square Garden for Night 2 of a back-to-back tomorrow to take on the New York Knicks in hopes of getting number six. That game tips off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.