CHICAGO -- Players endure shooting slumps all the time in the NBA.

But an entire team?

It certainly feels like that for the Boston Celtics who endured yet another night in which they collectively struggled to make shots that led to 101-92 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The Celtics (19-17) have now lost two straight and four of their last five games.

And while the reasons for their recent slump are plentiful, Boston’s inability to make shots stands head and shoulders above all their problems.

On Thursday, Boston shot just 35.7 percent from the field. And that came less than 24 hours after they shot 37.4 percent in a 99-94 home loss to Detroit.

“We know where we’re going to get our shots,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder who was 6-for-17 shooting on Thursday. “Guys have to hone in and focus and try to get it going. We have guys who can really shoot the ball.”

He’s right.

But the problem is those guys haven’t been making them.

And while it has become more of a hot topic of discussion recently, Boston has had shooting struggles all season.

It’s just that until recently, their problems making shots didn’t become such a major hurdle to them winning games.

The way Isaiah Thomas sees it, there’s only one thing the Celtics can do now.

“Keep shooting, keep playing,” Thomas said. “You can’t control if the ball goes in or not, but you can control the offensive effort you give. We have to continue at it and keep being us; and they’ll fall. It’s a long season. You go through spells where you can’t make anything.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Derrick Rose

He wasn’t quite in MVP form from a couple years ago, but Rose was really good for long stretches on Thursday. He finished with 18 points on an efficient 9-for-16 shooting night. He also grabbed seven rebounds to go with three assists.

Pau Gasol

So much for slowing down with time. Although he’s 35 years old, Gasol still has the ability to more than hold his own against players much younger. Boston had major problems with Gasol all game, as he finished with a double-double of 17 points and 18 rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

He has been on a scoring tear of late, but Butler put on a passing clinic Thursday night which once again showcased his talents which rank him among the most versatile players in the NBA. He led all scorers with 19 points but did so on 5-for-14 shooting. Butler also dished out 10 assists which tied his career high, along with grabbing five rebounds.


Jared Sullinger

If there’s one positive takeaway from Thursday’s loss, it should be how effective the Celtics can be if they play some inside-out basketball with Sullinger on the block. The Celtics did just that for a few possessions, but never hit the Bulls with a steady diet of it. Sullinger still managed a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. And when Sullinger was on the floor, positive things happened for Boston which was evident by his plus-minus for the game being a +11 which was tops among Celtics players.


Isaiah Thomas

He is Boston’s best scorer, but of late he has been one of their least efficient players. Thomas had another rough night shooting the ball for Boston, scoring 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting from the field.