Kyrie-less Celtics dominate Bulls, 105-89

Kyrie-less Celtics dominate Bulls, 105-89

No Kyrie Irving, no problem apparently for the Boston Celtics who handily defeated the Chicago Bulls, 105-89.

Boston (45-20) has now won five of its six games since returning from the All-Star break. And they did it without Irving who was held out due to a sore left knee. Replacing him in the starting lineup was Shane Larkin who made his first start as Celtic, tallying nine points, four rebounds and four assists.

Here are some of the highlights from Boston’s victory over the Bulls with a final score that was not indicative of how Boston absolutely controlled the action from the outset and led by as many as 37 points. 

What worked: Rebounding was among the many areas in which the Celtics absolutely dominated the Bulls on Monday. For the game, Boston grabbed 53 rebounds compared to just 36 for Chicago. And by winning the game, Boston improves its record to 32-4 when they equal or surpass their opponents on the glass. 

What didn’t work: Not much. Boston’s 3-point shooting wasn’t great, connecting on 33.3 percent (12-of-36) of their shots. But when you scorch a team as badly as the Celtics did the Bulls … it’s all good.

Play to remember: In the first quarter, Boston’s Al Horford stole a Kris Dunn pass, dribbled the length of the floor and finished the play with a dunk that put Boston ahead 26-5 with 4:16 to play in the first. 

Play to forget: In the first half, Daniel Theis took an elbow to below the waist, from Chicago’s Zach LaVine who was driving to the basket for a lay-up. Theis is all about taking more shots on the court. But that one … Not so much!

Who starred: With Kyrie Irving (left knee) out, Jaylen Brown had no problem stepping up to fill the void. He was aggressive from the outset and finished the night with a game-high 21 points. 

Who stunk: Easily it was Zach LaVine who like the rest of the Bulls, was never able to get any kind of offensive flow. For the game, he had four points on 1-for-11 shooting. 

Cool stat: Remember early we pointed out Boston lowering the boom on Chicago when it came to rebounding? Well one of the byproducts of Boston’s dominance on the glass, was the Celtics running over the Bulls when it came to getting points around the rim. For the game, Boston had a decisive 46-24 advantage on points in the paint. 

Cool fact: It was Boston’s first win in Chicago since 2014, snapping a five-game losing skid at the United Center by the Celtics.

Up next: Boston travels to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.


Who's in, out, on the fence for Celtics game vs Spurs tonight?

Who's in, out, on the fence for Celtics game vs Spurs tonight?

BOSTON -- The narrative surrounding the Boston Celtics all season has been one that revolves around guys being hurt and with that, an element of unpredictability as to its impact on their play. 

So with just nine regular season games left,  why would these final games of the regular season go off script?

The latest medical update from the Boston Celtics has Al Horford (left knee soreness) and Robert Williams III (low back contusion) both out for tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. 

Williams suffered his back injury in Boston’s 124-117 loss at Charlotte when he came down on his back after trying a put-back dunk that hit the back of the rim and bounced out. 

In the Hornets game, Jayson Tatum suffered a similar spill although his fall didn’t appear to be as hard as the one suffered by Williams.

Tatum is listed as doubtful tonight. 

The glimmers of positivity on the injury front for Boston come in the form of Aron Baynes (left ankle sprain) and Gordon Hayward (concussion protocol) who are both listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Spurs. 

This season has been an injury-riddled one for Baynes who hasn’t played so few games since his rookie season with the Spurs.

And while he logs just 14.8 minutes per game, there’s no mistaking his impact on this team when it comes to winning. 

Because without him, the Celtics are just 16-14. 

As for Hayward, his concussion suffered in the Celtics’ win over the Atlanta Hawks last week, this is just the latest mini-setback as he continues to show growth and improvement in his overall game after a lackluster start to the season. 

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Former Celtics star Al Jefferson confirms NBA retirement, will join Big 3 league

AP Images

Former Celtics star Al Jefferson confirms NBA retirement, will join Big 3 league

Al Jefferson is officially done as an NBA player.

The former Boston Celtics power forward confirmed his retirement from the NBA to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn on Saturday. 

Jefferson last played 36 games for the Indiana Pacers during the 2017-18 season. He did not make an appearance this season.

The 34-year-old veteran played for five different teams over 14 seasons. He was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft. Jefferson immediately became the building block of the Celtics' rebuild alongside veteran Paul Pierce. 

Jefferson's ascent to one of the premier young big men in the league helped the Celtics acquire future Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007. Jefferson was the prized piece of the Wolves' return for Garnett, and without the young star, the C's might not have been able to pull off the deal. That trade arguably was the primary reason why C's won the 2008 NBA Finals as Garnett changed the culture in Boston, won 2008 Defensive Player of the Year and was a nightmare for opponents on offense. 

So, as Jefferson transitions from NBA retirement to a new career in the "Big 3", Celtics fans should always appreciate him for helping the franchise reach its ultimate goal after a 22-year drought.

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