Stars, studs and duds: Celtics turn attention to 'must-win' Game 3

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics turn attention to 'must-win' Game 3

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made their share of big plays against the Chicago Bulls.

But in each instance the Celtics seemed just around the corner from a comeback, they would run into a red-and-black clad wall that consistently delivered the kind of push back that Boston never seemed capable of responding to.
And now they find themselves in a 2-0 series deficit following Tuesday’s 111-94 Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls.


 “We have to get ready to play great on Friday,” said Boston’s Brad Stevens. “We don’t have any other choice that’s what we said in the locker room; that’s it.”
The Celtics will spend the next couple of days not focusing on what went wrong at home, but instead lock in on what they have to do to get a win in this series that has gotten away from them quickly.
Said Al Horford: “That’s all we have, Game 3 is a must-win for us.”
The odds are stacked heavily against the Celtics to move on at this point.
But the Celtics aren’t anywhere close to throwing in the towel in this series.
“It’s not the ideal situation for us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “Definitely don’t want to put yourself down 2-0 at home. It’s not the end of the world for us. We feel we got the unit … to get Game 3. Obviously, it’s not ideal but we feel we can bounce back.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 111-97 Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Robin Lopez

The Celtics continue to have no answer for Lopez and the Bulls’ pick-and-pop game. He lit up the Celtics for 18 points along with eight rebounds on 8-for-11 shooting.
Isaiah Thomas

It was another rough game for Thomas, but he still managed to lead the Celtics with 20 points on 6-for-15 shooting.
Dwyane Wade

Big shots in the playoffs is part of the narrative when you talk about Wade. He had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting with four rebounds.
Jimmy Butler: Butler didn’t dominate the way he did in Game 1 down the stretch, but that doesn’t take away from what was another solid performance for Butler. He had 22 points along with eight rebounds and eight assists.

Rajon Rondo

The former Celtic continues to haunt his old team with some familiar big-time play for the Bulls. He finished with a near triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.
Marcus Smart

This was one of the few Celtics who played with the kind of fight needed to compete. For the game, he had 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting along with eight rebounds.


Celtics free throw shooting

This has been one of the strengths of this team this season. But in Game 2, it was one of the many factors that did not go the Celtics’ way as Boston shot just 57.9 percent (11-for-19) from the line.

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.