By DJ Harding –
The Boston Celtics played The Chicago Bulls in TD Garden playing back on their home floor after a 4 game road trip that started on January first with two losses versus the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder. But ended with wins versus The Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls are also coming in on a win streak of their own, beating the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Utah Jazz.
Going into this matchup the Bulls lead the season series two games to one. Beating Boston twice this season. The Celtics are looking to right the ship after starting the season with a 21-5 record which was best in the league but have been 7-7 since then. The Celtics still have the best record in the league but the doubters are starting to creep in on if the Celtics have enough.
The first quarter had the feel of the three previous matchups which would close games all the way through as when Demar Derozan started with his signature mid range pull up and got fouled to make it a 3 point lead. The Celtics answered right back with Al Horford throwing an alley-oop for Robert Williams III. Then the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown took over for the Celtics offense scoring the Celtics next 10 points. The Bulls weren’t out of it though, keeping it close as the first quarter ended with a 28-25 score as the Celtics were up by 3. The Second Quarter was more of the same until with 4 minutes left in the Second quarter the Celtics went on a 11 to 2 run to end the quarter with a 9 point lead.
The Bulls coming out the half down 59-50 started to scratch and claw their way back into the game getting the game within two points with 9 minutes left in the third quarter. Once again though the Celtics got hot and within 5 minutes pushed their lead back up 16 points. The Bulls eventually ended the 3rd got it down to 11. The job was not finished as there was still one last quarter to play and the Bulls took advantage of what little time they had left. The Celtics lead went from 14 with 5 minutes left to a tight knit two point game with 5 minutes left. With a score of 99-97. At this moment Jayson Tatum took over and scored 5 of the teams last 8. With the last bucket being a fastbreak dunk that he got fouled on and still finished putting the game out of reach and the Celtics won the game 107-99.
Tatum’s late game heroics pushed his point total to 32 points and along with that had 8 rebounds and 7 assists on was a MVP caliber performance. Jaylen Brown chipped in 19 points being the Celtics 3rd highest scorer as Grant Williams off the bench contributed 20 points. Zach Lavine (27 points) Nikola Vucevic (21 Points) and Demar Derozan (13 Points) with the top scorers for the Bulls.
Both teams return to action Wednesday as The Bulls are on the road again traveling to Washington D.C to take on the Wizards in Capital On Arena. The Celtics meanwhile defend their home court once again against the New Orleans Pelicans who are third best in the west. The Bulls fall to a 19-22 record 10th place in the East while the Celtics stay on top improving to 29-12 and have the best record at the official halfway point of the season.