Bulls at Celtics Game Recap 2/12/12: Rondo's Triple-Double Leads Boston to 95-91 Win

Bulls at Celtics Game Recap 2/12/12: Rondo's Triple-Double Leads Boston to 95-91 Win
Rajon Rondo is now a Chicago Bull (Photo by Eric Kilby)

Rajon Rondo had a triple-double, posting season highs in points and assists, and the Boston Celtics ended the Bulls' 5-game winning streak with a 95-91 win in the TD Garden on Sunday.

I'm not one to blame a loss on one player- Wes Welker in Super Bowl 46 excluded- but CJ Watson certainly has to take a lot of blame for this one.

Not only did he shoot an abysmal 8/23 from the field- including a 3/13, two rebound, two assist first half- he was primarily responsible for defending Rondo. And I use the word "defending" lightly. I wasn't sure anyone was guarding Rondo most of the game as he was left wide-open for numerous jumpers and it seemed as if he were Moses parting the Red Sea when he tried to get into the paint.

Granted, you usually want Rondo taking jumpers as he is possibly the worst shooter among starting point guards in the NBA, but when a guy is hot it's usually a good idea to start paying a little more attention to him.

That being said, the Bulls were still in this game most of the way, but nobody on the team could throw the ball in the ocean. Deng: 3/12. Gibson 1/6. Korver 1/5. Lucas 3/9.

Boozer (9/16, 22 pts, 7 reb) and Noah (6/10, 16 pts, 9 reb) played well again offensively, but it wasn't enough to overcome the frigidity of the rest of the team.

And the Bulls barely played any defense early- the Celtics were 13/22 in the first quarter and 8/16 in the second, shooting over 55% for the half. With the Bulls at 34% (16/47) at halftime, it's a miracle that they were only down by 5. They grabbed 11 offensive rebounds for 13 second chance points in the first half or the game would have been over by then.

I guess the most telling statistic that showed how bad the Bulls got outhustled in this one was the 33-7 advantage the Celtics had in fast break points. Yes, the old, crumbling Celtics, who play at the third-slowest pace in the league and whose top three scorers are all 34 or older, had 33 fast break points today against the Bulls.

That is completely unacceptable, and I'm sure Coach Thibs will let the team know about it soon enough.

Today, the Bulls looked like a team that was playing it's ninth consecutive road game over a 19 day span. Not only were they outworked and outhustled, they were outrebounded by a very pedestrian rebounding team.

All of that being said, the Bulls still sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 23-7 record, though they are tied with the Heat in the loss column. They are 1/2 game ahead of Oklahoma City for the best record in the league, though they trail the Thunder by percentage points and one game in the loss column.

They have played exactly 2/3 of their games on the road, and they'll now finish the season with 23 home games and only 13 on the road. Their road schedule isn't brutal, but they still have to play at San Antonio, Philadelphia, Orlando, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Miami and Indiana.

The immediate goal of the team, however, is to get Derrick Rose healthy. He is scheduled to see a back specialist tomorrow, so we'll all know a lot more after that, but however much rest he needs is how much the Bulls need to give him.

Just get to the playoffs with a healthy roster, and this team has a shot at a championship, home court or not.

Today wasn't pretty for the Bulls or their fans, but it's just a minor blip in the big picture.


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  • yea, u look at this game, and think "did we miss Rose's defense as much as his offense?"....If Bulls shoot even 40% they win this game, lol...There is no way Rondo goes off like this with Rose in the game (and Rose's defense includes Rondo having to chase Rose around)...Garnett, Pierce and Allen once again look old and ineffective against the Bulls, only able to do anything when they had wide open looks...just worried about Rose like everyone, hope when his back gets better it stays better all season....but either way, I hate losing to the Celtics!

  • In reply to Keep:

    Yeah, two years ago nobody would have ever said that the Bulls miss DRose's defense, but they sure did yesterday.

    And excellent point, Keep, about how part of Rose's "defense" is how guys get worn out chasing him around, thereby having less to offer on offense.

    If yesterday is all the Celtics have to offer, you can't take them seriously in the playoffs. Forget DRose, hell if Rip plays yesterday it's probably enough to get the Bulls over the hump.

  • I don't have all that much to say about the game. Miserable as the shooting was, they nearly pulled it out. Lu and CJ 7-12 FTs, Taj had a contested but very makeable put back and missed it. The bench played ok - but their 6-23 was worse than the starters. Keep: agree with ya about DRose's D!!

    I don't think much of Rosenbloom - but he's pretty much on it today. I know DRose wants to play; I know Thibs says, "if he can go, he plays." I know the trainers can hold a player out ... maybe it's time, given how both of the former are "who they are," that GarPax tell the trainers to err on the side of caution. I don't know the right answer - just fear this is something we're gonna have to worry about long term.


  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Yeah MoneyBoy, it might be time for GarPax to step in and tell Rose to take a little time off for his (and Thibs') own good.

    Like me, you're old enough to remember the year MJ broke his foot, and the front office put him on a strict minute limit when he did come back late in the season. JR and Krause wanted him to go ahead and sit out the whole season so they could get the higher draft pick, but of course MJ was going to play when he was healthy.

    I remember it started at like 20 minutes a game and went up 1 or 2 minutes every game after that. Was it Albeck or Motta who got fired at the end of the year, at least partially because they played MJ an extra minute one night? I want to say it was Albeck, but I could be wrong.

  • Albeck ... yeah, not only do I remember - I happened to have tix to the first game back !!! Krause was furious when he found out MJ was playing every day in N.C. They did make the playoffs that year ... the year of 63 vs Boston!!!

    This is a biatch ... the fan in me doesn't want DRose to play until after the A.S.G. ... the "owner/GM" in me wants to wring Thib's neck ... but god love him ... the other night, they're up by nearly 40, they give up an uncontested layup, and he blows a gasket, calls a T.O., and lights 'em up!!! Hard to argue ... it's why the record is what it is!!!

  • Yeah, it's hard to argue with Thibs or his methods, considering he is now 85-27 (regular season) in his coaching career.

    And thanks for reminding me about MJ playing ball back in Carolina when he was hurt, yeah Krause and JR were pissed!!

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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