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.