The 25 from Brown was his 10th straight 25-point performance. Jayson Tatum had a near-triple double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Marcus Smart was the only Celtics’ starter to not score in double figures. In a great game for the double bigs, Al Horford scored 17 with 10 rebounds and Daniel Theis played well against his former team, putting up 15 points and six rebounds.
The last matchup between Boston and Chicago was Jan. 15, 2022, with a lot different since then. Since that game, the Celtics were 27-8 and the Bulls were 18-20.
Boston was without Robert Williams, Nik Stauskas and Juwan Morgan, while Chicago was missing Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and Matt Thomas.
Chicago entered the game ranked second in the NBA in field-goal percentage, at 47.9%. DeMar DeRozan, the league’s sixth leading scorer (28.2), is a big reason for that. The Celtics looked to counter that offense with the NBA’s best defense in net rating. Brown scored 25 or more in the last nine consecutive games.
The Celtics started off playing off the Chicago mistakes. The Boston defense forced three turnovers, which led to four easy points. Up 13-6, Smart had three assists on the team’s five made baskets.
After 39 assists on 56 made baskets in a 42-point blowout against Washington, the Celtics carried that momentum into Chicago early.
Up 26-14 with 3:30 left in the first, the Celtics had eight assists on 10 made baskets. The Bulls continued to struggle with turnovers and the Celtics couldn’t miss. After one, Boston kept its foot on the gas and led 32-19 in the United Center. Brown led all scorers with eight points.
The Bulls quickly turned around their intensity to begin the second, outscoring the Celtics 9-5 to cut the lead to nine. Theis became the leading scorer as the second wore on, finding the open space and consistently converting on his open looks.
Midway through the second, the Celtics defense combined with some timely shooting from Payton Pritchard had Boston up 50-33. Pritchard hit 3/4 threes for a rapid nine-point outburst.
PAYTON. PRITCHARD. pic.twitter.com/MTpgzG7IRb— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) April 7, 2022
The Celtics kept the ball moving, and amassed a near 20-point lead approaching halftime after five unanswered from Tatum. Entering halftime, Boston held a commanding 67-51 lead. Theis led the Celtics at halftime with 13 points.
The third quarter got off to a sluggish start, with both teams playing sound defense out of the break. The Celtics started 3/12 in the third and the Bulls went 3/7. A hook shot from Brown then a pass to set Horford up for three ended an 0/6 stretch from the field.
Brown was responsible for eight straight points after hitting a step back three on Tristan Thompson, pushing Boston to a 20-point lead again. Brown hit another three later from the right wing, bringing him to 21 points on the night.
Boston turned in its best quarter of the night in the third, holding Chicago to 16 points. The Bulls shot just 6/24 (25%) in the third, giving the Celtics a 24-point lead entering the final quarter, 91-67.
Chicago’s bench unit tried to scrape its way back into the game, forcing the ball inside on the undersized Celtics bench unit, but Brown continued to keep the offense humming.
The fourth quarter saw Chicago creep back into the game a bit, but the lead Boston established proved insurmountable as mostly reserves closed out the final six minutes of the game.
Next up for Boston is a face-off against the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee, in a contest that will likely be crucial to the final Eastern Conference standings. Currently, the Celtics are a half game ahead of Milwaukee in the two seed.
For more postgame coverage of the Celtics 23-point win in Chicago, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss Jaylen Brown’s recent resurgence and the playoff paths for the Celtics.