Bulls vs Celtics Game Recap: Deng, Boozer, Noah All Post Double-Doubles in 89-80 Win

Bulls vs Celtics Game Recap: Deng, Boozer, Noah All Post Double-Doubles in 89-80 Win
Photo by Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune

Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah all posted double-doubles, leading the Bulls to an 89-80 victory over the Celtics on Thursday night at the UC.

Deng had 23 points and 10 assists, Boozer had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Noah contributed 15 points and 16 rebounds (8 offensive) as the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics 52-37. 16 of the Bulls' rebounds came on the offensive end, which allowed them to overcome a bad shooting night from the field (.395).

The Bulls had an outstanding night from behind the arc, however, hitting 10 of 21 three-pointers (.476). Deng led the way, hitting his first three attempts and 6/9 overall. Deng also had a game-high 10 assists, and as a team the Bulls registered 27 assists on 30 made field goals. That is just an unheard of number in the NBA, and it is very indicative of the way the Bulls truly played as a team in Derrick Rose's absence.

Rose, who missed his fourth consecutive game with back spasms, did participate in the team's shootaround Thursday afternoon, and he is expected to be back in action next week. I hope the Bulls aren't in any rush to get him back into game action, obviously the team can win most games without him, and they really need him to be healthy for the playoffs.

Best record in the regular season is nice, but having a healthy Rose for the playoffs is much more important.

The Bulls used a 26-11 second quarter advantage to lead 44-35 at halftime, and they scored the first seven points of the second half to push the lead to 16. It looked like the Bulls were going to blow the Celtics right out of the UC, but then Boston went to a zone defense and the Bulls suddenly looked like a bunch of deer caught in a poacher's spotlight.

After Noah's 16-footer gave the Bulls a 53-37 lead, they only hit 3 of 23 shots the rest of the quarter, allowing the Celtics to cut the lead to 60-59 heading into the final 12 minutes.

Chris Wilcox opened the fourth by scoring on an alley-oop from Rajon Rondo, giving the Celtics a 61-60 lead. But Deng, who was named to his first All-Star team last week, scored 10 points and added a pair of assists in a 21-8 Chicago run that put the Bulls ahead by 12 with 4:41 to play. The Celtics never got closer than six the rest of the night.

The final nine minutes of the third quarter notwithstanding, the Bulls' offense actually looked pretty good most of the night. The ball movement was outstanding, they made the extra pass, and they took the open shots when they were there. They missed a lot of close shots, and the officials let both teams play very physical defense, which helps explain why neither team shot over 40% from the field.

Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics (15-14), while Rondo chipped in with 17 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Paul Pierce (14 points) and Ray Allen (12) were the only other Celtics in double figures, but they combined to shoot only 10/29 from the field.

The Bulls improved their record to an NBA-best 25-7 with the victory.

It's very nice to see Joakim Noah back to the player we have all become used to seeing, his energy on the boards and defense were huge in this ugly game. If he could have hit a couple of the tips and putbacks he normally makes, this game probably wouldn't have been as close as it was.

Boozer was outstanding on offense, and he even dove for a loose ball on one occasion. Granted, it was so he could score a rebound, but it was nice to see nonetheless.

Deng- what more can you say about this guy? He just keeps getting better at creating his own shot, and he has gone from a complete non-entity 3-point range to a guy who is now shooting .402 from behind the arc on the season. And that number isn't a fluke, he is attempting 3.32 three-pointers per game, he's no Bogans who only shoots them when he is ridiculously wide open.

Am I the only one who is watching the games and totally forgetting that Deng has a torn ligament in his wrist? He has been simply outstanding since coming back from the injury, he is now shooting an amazing .476 from behind the arc in the 7 games he has been back- and that percentage has come on 5.1 attempts per game. He is also averaging 6.8 assists over his last 6 games.

And Deng is only 26, he is probably still a year or two away from entering his prime. It's hard to believe that there were so many Bulls fans- a majority, it's safe to say- who thought Paxson screwed the pooch by paying Deng instead of Ben Gordon.

NBA Media Central is still having some sort of technical difficulties, I still cannot access my account. I apologize for only being able to provide a link to NBA.com's box score.

I also cannot access Swirsky and Wennington's highlights, hopefully they will get things straightened out before the Bulls next game- a Saturday matinee at the UC against the Nets, which will be televised nationally on WGN America. Game time is 3:00 CT.



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  • The 27 assists on 30 field goals are indicative of why I'm perfectly content to enjoy this team for what it is. It is by no means the only way to win, but it is what I personally value the most as "good basketball."

    And as a long time Luol Deng defender I loved last night's game. It will always be easy to dismiss Deng in comparision to many of his peers at small forward, but I thought last night was a showcase of what makes Deng a winning basketball player. Last season I thought the best testament to Deng's value was something that doesn't even get mentioned in the typical " not in the boxscore" plays. I cannot count how many 2 on 1 or even 3 on 1 fastbreak opportunities Deng broke up as a defender. It was almost uncanny how often he would break up transition opportunities last season as the only defender back. I remember it particuarly standing out in the playoffs.

  • In reply to scotter:

    Yeah, I'm a little old-fashinoned and "Hoosiers" is one of my all-time favorite movies, but I still appreciate great team play, sharing the ball, team defense- I was a big fan of the Skiles Bulls, they didn't have the most talent in any manner but they always played the right way.

    100% with you on Deng, scotter- it's hard to believe that people couldn't see what a great all-around talent he is, just because he was injured a lot his first few years. But he keeps on improving every year, and he's not even in his prime yet. It's hard to believe he won't even be 27 until April.

  • Offensive rebounds are, as Stacey says, "hustle and muscle." Both were in evidence last night. Scotter - the 27 for 30 is jaw-dropping. Deng, Booz and Jo made Boston's old men look really old! James - wasn't happy he was cut - he proved his value (think KThomas) last night. For what he was/is being paid, he's of value on this roster.

    Don - NO reason to play DRose before the All Star break - ready or not! As to Deng/Gordon - Gordon got paid and is paying for it. Doubtful he would have been of much value to Thibs - no "d" in "offense." Deng got his first big paper - and yes, I do know he'll still be very young when he comes up to F/A again ... Another conundrum for the Bulls - though Booz will be up and out the following year.

    Just watched the replay of Booz missin' the bunny in the 3rd. I screamed at the TV ... dunk the funkin' thing you jerk!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Yeah MoneyBoy, Gordon got what he wanted- it's too bad, if he would have signed for the MLE or just over it, he could have been playing the Vinny Johnson role for a championship contender.

    When you choose the most money over winning, you get what you deserve.

  • I'm here for the Deng bang...lol hear that on Waddle and Silvy, funny stuff but wow he saved the game with those 3's, especially the one right after the thugs in green took the lead, game was almost slipping away...The announcers were right on about James playing better at least last night, offense in better flow when he was in....this game had like no flow, lots of tacky fouls, just ugly, but guess that's what ya get with top defenses and no Rose....Since the Booz miscue didn't hurt at the end, I'm happy he just went up strong the one time, Taj must be given him some pointers...yes, in agreement about Rose sitting til ASG weekend done...Da Bulls

  • In reply to Keep:

    James really did make some outstanding passes last night, I almost dare say we don't win the game without him.

    Lucas and Watson could do nothing against the zone, but once James came into the game guys were in the right position and he was making the right pass, and that just blossomed into the whole team moving and making the right pass.

  • Everyone who's reading, tomorrow's game recap is going to be kind of late. I don't know why they're playing a 3 PM game on a Saturday, but I am going to cover the Murray State vs St Mary's BracketBuster game, which starts at 5 PM so I won't be home until probably close to 9.

    Then I'll watch the Bulls and give my opinions.

    I'll still be doing a game preview in the morning as usual.

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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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