Celtics follow recipe for success in blowout of Bulls

Celtics follow recipe for success in blowout of Bulls

BOSTON – Even with their improved play of late, the Chicago Bulls should never be seen as a barometer for how your team is playing. 

Games against the Bulls are more like experiments that if you mix the right ingredients will render the same result every time.

For Boston, the recipe for success has been consistent play, limit mistakes and keep the board game relatively close.

The Celtics succeeded on all three fronts Saturday which more than anything else, paved the way for their 117-92 blowout win over the Bulls. 


Even when the score was relatively close, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was pleased with how the Celtics were playing – something he couldn’t necessarily say about their last few games. 

“I thought we played great in the first half and I thought they played great in the first half,” Stevens said, even though Boston’s lead at the half was just 60-58. “That was the best we’ve played in a while … and then we continued it at the start of the third quarter and played with a pretty good purpose.”

 And while Chicago won the battle on the boards 51-46, the rebounding deficiency didn’t hurt the Celtics, with Boston matching the Bulls in second-chance points with 12.

“It was one of (our) better games in the past week,” said Boston’s Daniel Theis.

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s 117-92 win over Chicago which improved their East-leading record to 27-9. 



You will never see an NBA team play mistake-free basketball for 48 minutes, but the Celtics certainly played one of its best error-free games in a long, long time. Anytime you can commit less than 10 turnovers, it’s a really good game for you. On Saturday, the Celtics turned the ball over a season-low six times which is impressive considering even when the game was out of hand numbers are often inflated, for better or worse, due to emptying of the bench, Boston’s players still kept their mistakes at a minimum.



Having missed the previous game at New York to rest his sore left Achilles, Brown definitely looked like the time off did his body a lot of good. And when he’s good – particularly when you talk scoring – the Celtics are really good. Against the Bulls, Brown had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting for his eighth 20-point game this season. Boston’s record in those games? The Celtics are 7-1, with the lone loss coming in the season opener at Cleveland when he scored 25 points. 



The third quarter was when the Celtics began to pull away, courtesy of a 38-point third quarter performance. But it was Boston’s defense that really fueled the team’s strong play. They limited the Bulls to just 6-for-18 shooting (33 percent), but more telling was Boston forcing seven, third-quarter turnovers that led to 13 points.



In Boston’s four previous games, they allowed an opposing player to score 30 or more points. At the half on Saturday, Bobby Portis had 15 points and appeared to be on his way to becoming Celtics killer No. 5. But to Boston’s credit, they did a much better job of staying attached to Portis in the second half and limiting him to just a pair of free throws while forcing him into missing his three field goal attempts.



With a bench that’s full of questions and uncertainties, Daniel Theis has been a refreshing addition to the mix. He knows who he is, what he can do and truthfully, doesn’t try to do more than that. He rebounds. He defends. He’ll occasionally catch a lob for a dunk or easy lay-up. We saw all that on display Saturday night with Theis tallying his second career double-double of 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.


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.