The Chicago Bulls fell to the Boston Celtics Wednesday night 108-97 in Game 5.
The Bulls have had one of the most remarkably inconsistent seasons of any team in franchise history, and as their playoff run takes on a similar tone, they were hoping to right the ship in Game 5--but it didn't happen.
The Celtics now hold a 3-2 series lead.
The Bulls, who won the first two games of the series in Boston before dropping Games 3 and 4 in Chicago, were without Rondo in this one. The guard was still dealing with a fractured thumb on his right hand, and although he has had the cast taken off of it, it’s still in too much pain for him to play.
In his place was Isaiah Canaan, who didn’t start a single game in the regular season and has only appeared in one playoff game thus far. He did make a strong debut in Game 4 of the series, scoring 13 points in 34 minutes off the bench, but his lack of experience in these types of situations will make for a fascinating story as the ball goes in the air.
As Canaan entered the lineup, the Celtics were hoping that the resurgence they’d gotten from their lineup in recent games continues. Al Horford has had two strong games in a row for Boston, putting up 15 points and 12 rebounds in the team’s Game 4 win, and Isaiah Thomas, Boston’s leading scorer in the regular season, also surged back into form, dropping 33 points and converting on 12 of his 13 free throw attempts in the victory that evened up the series.
If the Bulls want to win and set up a chance to advance in Game 6 later this week, then they are going to need a big effort out of Dwyane Wade. The guard has had an up and down series, and his Game 4 performance was definitely in the latter category as he scored just 11 points in 38 minutes of action.
Jimmy Butler, who has been going to the free throw line a lot in the series, also must continue to drive to the basket and draw contact. He made 19-of-23 free throws in the Game 4 loss, and he scored a total of 33 points and looked solid even as the Bulls floundered at times.
The Bulls will also need a better rebounding effort out of Robin Lopez, who hauled down just seven rebounds in Game 4, as the team looks to the big man to use his size advantage against an under-sized and under-physical Boston team.