BOSTON – With a heavy heart, Isaiah Thomas took to the floor just one day after the death of his 22-year-old sister Chyna J. Thomas.
No one knew how Thomas would handle the emotional pain of his sister’s death, with the challenge of playing in his first playoff series as the favorite.
Thomas did his part, but it still wasn’t enough as the Celtics found themselves down 48-46 at the half after Al Horford hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as the halftime horn sounded.
Boston had a decent first quarter which ended with the Celtics ahead 28-23. But the second quarter was an absolute nightmare with the Bulls opening it with a 10-0 run to lead 33-28.
After a time-out with 8:41 to play in the half, the Celtics soon tied it up at 33 following an Avery Bradley 3-pointer and a Thomas driving lay-up, only to find themselves down 37-33 following baskets by Bobby Portis and Paul Zipser.
Brad Stevens called a time-out with 5:18 to play, hoping the Celtics could re-focus and start executing better.
But for the rest of the quarter, the Celtics consistently failed to get that necessary stop defensively or make a potentially game-changing basket to swing the game’s momentum back in their favor.
Considering how Boston got its butt totally kicked on the glass 32-20, to be trailing by just two points at the half is a small victory in itself.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Sunday’s game between Boston and Chicago.
He handled the pain and pressure of playing hours after his younger sister’s death like a true pro, leading the Celtics with 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting in the first half.
He’s known primarily as a rebounder and defender, but his offense was also humming along on Sunday. At the half, he had 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go with six rebounds.
He came off the Chicago bench and gave the Bulls a nice lift, scoring seven points to go with four rebounds and two assists.
The Celtics need a solid number two scorer to Thomas, and Bradley was up to the challenge in the first half. He had 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting.
The Celtics are getting smashed on the glass, 32-20, at the half. It isn’t so much about the rebounds creating scoring opportunities for the Bulls, but how those rebounds are robbing the Celtics of offensive possessions which is why this has been such a low-scoring first half. Despite having grabbed 16 offensive rebounds against Boston, the Bulls have a slim 15-13 edge in second-chance points.