On Tuesday night the Celtics were in Chicago to take on the Bulls in the final game of their road trip. The Bulls were without their franchise player, Derrick Rose, but have still be solid this season fueled by their tenacious defense. The team also faces two familiar faces in former Celtic, Nate Robinson and former Celtic coach, Tom Thibodeau. Coming into tonight they looked to bounce back from two straight losses on the weekend. Unfortunately this was not the case as the Celtics fell to the Bulls 100-89 and finished their road trip 0-3.
The team as a whole looked fatigued from the road trip that forced high minutes for our starters. Increased play by the starters was needed again as our bench really struggled producing just 16 points the entire night. Doc continued to get Terry reacquainted with the bench and started Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. Per usual Rajon Rondo tallied the most minutes on the night with 28 and also was the high scorer going 9-18 for 26 points. Kevin Garnett had a real hot start in the beginning of the game but really couldn't get it together in the second half. He went 5-10 for 10 points and 8 rebounds. Pierce had a solid overall night shooting 6-10 for 16 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds.
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls gets ready to drive on Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics on December 18, 2012 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The Bulls played very well tonight and certainly came in with more intensity. Their team was lead by center Joakim Noah who recorded his second triple-double of his career. He finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Carlos Boozer and Loul Deng both played well too, finishing with 21 points a piece. The biggest difference came from Nate Robinson off the bench hitting big, tough shots when it mattered most. Nate truly is a streaky player who feeds off energy and an uptempo play. In his time on the floor the pace certainly changed and the Bulls were able to extend their lead to as many as 20 points. Nate gathered most of his points from the three point line shooting 5-7 finishing with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The only positive take away for the Celtics came from Courtney Lee. In his second game back as a starter he hit a groove and was extremely reliable both offensively and defensively. He finished with an efficient 7-11 shooting for 14 points. Jeff Green had another rough night going 1-6 for just 3 points. However, to his credit many times the Celtics had poor offensive possessions and Green ended up in a tough spot forced to shoot with time expiring.
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, right, goes up for a layup as Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah defends during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Chicago.
Overall the team looked tired and unfocused. They lacked execution on defense and simply were too slow on rotations defensively. Many times we attempted to defend the pick and roll by rushing the ball handler with both defenders. This allowed many easy baskets for the Bulls big men as they simply rolled to the basket wide open. The team lost the rebounding battle 43-35 and were also crushed in the assist column 28-18.
The Celtics get no time off before their next game as they play tomorrow back home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. With a loss tonight the team dropped back to 12-12 on the season with two games left before Christmas. We are clearly struggling to find our identity and flow both offensively and defensively. In the past we've really leaned on being a solid defensive squad. This has not been the case as we've constantly allowed 100+ points a game. If the team can't string together back-to-back wins coming up at home you can bet trade rumors will be everywhere. Luckily the Cavs also lost to the Raptors tonight and hopefully will have little momentum coming into Boston.
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