The Chicago Bulls toppled the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the NBA Playoffs Tuesday night 111-97.
The Chicago Bulls stunned the basketball world with their 106-102 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series, and they’ll try to do that again on Tuesday night as they play in Game 2 in Beantown.
The Bulls got some huge performances out of their stars, including 30 points from Jimmy Butler, but the more important contributions came from their role players. Bobby Portis was the star of the show in that regard, scoring 19 points and hauling down nine rebounds as he came into the game off of the bench.
Jerian Grant was also a big contributor to the Game 1 victory, with six points and four assists as he helped lead the reserves to a dominant effort against the Celtics’ second unit.
In addition to the high scoring output, the Bulls also had a dominant night on the offensive glass. In the victory, the Bulls racked up an astonishing 20 offensive rebounds, and they used their athleticism inside to keep possession of the ball and earn themselves more time on the offensive side of the floor.
If they are going to come out of Boston with a 2-0 series lead, then they are going to have to replicate what they did in the series opener. That means that they will have to continue to limit the effectiveness of some of Boston’s premier rebounders, including Jameison Crowder and Al Horford, who combined for 15 rebounds in the team’s loss on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulls will also have to find a way to limit Isaiah Thomas’ free throw attempts, as he took 12 total shots from the charity stripe in the game. That ended up helping him get up to 33 total points in the game, and even though it wasn’t enough to get the Celtics the victory, it was enough to keep them in the game until the closing seconds of the contest.
On the Bulls’ side of the ledger, another strong game from Butler would obviously be helpful to their cause, but two more of their key players will also be needed to get them over the top. Rajon Rondo looked solid in 27 minutes of work, with 12 points and six assists to his credit, but he’ll have to stay out of foul trouble, as he racked up five personal fouls in Game 1.
Dwyane Wade also showed no ill effects from the elbow injury that impacted him late in the season, as he chipped in with 11 points, six assists, and five rebounds in Game 1.
If all three of those players can replicate those performances, and if guys like Nikola Mirotic can step up in the big situation, then the Bulls have a real shot at taking a two-game lead in the series, and putting Boston into a deep hole as they head back to Chicago for Game 3 later this week.