It was only 24 hours earlier that the Boston Celtics learned a valuable lesson about what can potentially happen if you let up on an opponent too soon.
The Chicago Bulls made the same mistake on Thursday as the Celtics wiped out a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter and made it a one-possession game for the last couple of minutes.
But like Boston did against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, the Bulls managed to fend off a late rally by Boston in handing the Celtics a 105-99 loss.
BULLS 105, CELTICS 99:
- Tim Welsh: Defense and rebounding haunt Celtics in loss to Bulls
Boston had multiple opportunities to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, only to consistently come up short.
Their last shot came with less than a minute to play and Boston trailing 101-99.
Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown had the ball and seemingly had a mismatch with Nikola Mirotic guarding him.
Brown dribbled into the lane, spun away from Mirotic and left his feet and landed without anyone to pass to.
It would prove to be a critical turnover as Dwyane Wade came down afterwards and drained a 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to make it a 104-99 game with 26.3 seconds to play.
That would be the Celtics’ last chance at a victory.
The Celtics trailed by as many as 15 points, but made it a game courtesy of a slew of baskets by Isaiah Thomas.
He finished with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting.
As well as Thomas shot from the field, he’ll most remember this game for the shots he didn’t make; his free throws specifically.
A career 86 percent free throw shooter, Thomas was just 2-for-6 from the line on Thursday.
Boston (1-1) also got a strong game from Avery Bradley who had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Bulls, playing their season opener with a newly-formed Big Three of prodigal son Dwyane Wade, ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo and All-Star Jimmy Butler, didn’t waste any time establishing control of the game.
Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points. Boston had moments in which it cut into Chicago’s lead, but the Bulls’ control of the game remained strong throughout the night.
Things got a bit chippy in the second quarter when Jae Crowder was called for an offensive foul against Jimmy Butler, a good friend of his as well as a former teammate at Marquette.
After Butler hit the ground, he used his legs to tie up Crowder who fell to the floor afterwards. Crowder then forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest.
That led to some back and forth trash talk between Isaiah Thomas and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.
Officials reviewed the play and called all four players – Crowder, Thomas, Butler and Rondo – were called for a technical foul.
Tempers cooled down afterwards for both teams as the Chicago Bulls continued to stay red-hot from 3-point range.
The Bulls were especially impressive in the first half when they were 7-for-13 on 3s.
And leading the 3-point barrage was Wade who rarely looked to score beyond the 3-point line a year ago. He would finish with 22 points which included a trio of 4-pointers which was the first time he made that many 3s since the 2012-2013 season when he played for the Miami Heat.
Chicago’s top scorer was Butler who had 24 points and seven rebounds.