|Posted by Matt Rury on December 13, 2009 at 12:49 AM|
29-26. 25-20. 29-17. 23-17.
Each of those scores represents a single quarter in tonight's game which I had the pleasure of attending in Chicago. They add up to a 106-80 drubbing of the lowly Bulls by the Eastern Conference leading Boston Celtics.
Led by Rajon Rondo's double-double (16 points, 14 assists - he also added 7 rebounds) the Celtics came into Chicago and took care of a team that has been struggling mightily on the second night of back-to-back games. Entering the game they had an average losing margin of 26 points on night #2 and the Celtics hit that number right on the nose. It's no coincidence that the Bulls very first back-to-back games were their season opener against San Antonio (a win) and then a 28 point loss in Boston the very next night. Their other three losses on night #2 have come against Toronto (twice) and Atlanta. This doesn't take away from the fact that the Celtics smothered the Bulls on defense, holding them to 33% shooting for the game. Now that we've got that out of the way I'm going to address the "what to watch for" points from a previous post then give you a quick run down of my United Center experience.
Rondo vs. Rose - Rondo absolutely dominated this match-up. On top of the numbers mentioned above he had three steals and was 4-5 from the free throw line. Rose on the other hand was held to 18 points on 8-19 shooting and only dished out three assists. After the game a friend of mine (who happens to be a Bulls fan) asked me if Rose played well or if he had the "same detached BS he's had all year." I didn't really think about it during the game but last year's rookie of the year did seem to be detached from the rest of his team at times.
Early lead - As noted above the Celts had a small lead after the first quarter and never looked back. That's all there is to it.
Bulls - The Celtics were great in their own right but the Bulls just didn't seem to show up tonight. They were sloppy, mishandling the ball at times, fumbling it away, making bad passes and taking bad shots. This season continues to be a shock to Bulls fans especially after the success they had last year.
Paul Pierce - P-squared started out strong scoring eight of the team's first ten points and looked to be on his way to the break-out game we were all looking for. With the Celtics up big however, Pierce took a seat on the bench and only played 25 minutes, tallying 14 points on an unimpressive four of twelve from the field. Apparently we'll have to wait for Paul's break-out game.
Marquis' minutes - We saw a lot of Eddie House tonight and not a whole lot of Tony Allen which is totally fine with me. Most of Eddie's 15 shots came in garbage time and unfortunately he only made five of them. At one point in the game I actually stood up and yelled "get him off the floor Doc" referring to Tony Allen after he turned the ball over and looked utterly horrible on more than one drive to the hoop. Needless to say, against a tougher opponent the Celtics will miss Daniels a lot more than they did tonight.
Perimeter defense - The Bulls made one shot behind the arc in nine attempts. Enough said.
Overall this was a very fun game and yet another Celtics road trip that ended successfully for me (Knicks @ MSG Nov 22.) Chicago is still a great NBA city despite the fact that their fans were not very enthusiastic tonight. They still have one of the best player introductions in the entire league (if not THE best). Unfortunately for the Bulls fans, those introductions were the most excitement they had all night. Most of the fans stayed through the 20 point lead that the Celtics built after three quarters - something that shows these fans still want their team to succeed and will continue to support them until they do. However, as my friend who accompanied me pointed out, the fans did not participate in the "Let's go Bulls" chants when prompted and at times you could hear a pin drop in the stadium. Those last two sentences are somewhat contradictory but I think the fans of Chicago are just itching for a team that is going to produce winning results before they give them their full attention.
The complete experience in Chicago was excellent. For those of you that are "of-age" their beers are not only bigger than at the Garden but they are also cheaper ($7.) Their arena is huge, beautiful and doesn't seem to have a bad seat in the house. Their championship banners are certainly impressive - even to someone that sees 17 green and white ones 41 times a year.
We capped the night by heading down to the pro shop where I bought a sweet photo of His Airness for my brother and headed outside in the rain to take pictures of the one and only Michael Jordan statue. All in all this was a wonderful trip to the United Center and I look forward to going back sometime in the near future.