Comebacks like the one the Chicago Bulls engineered against the Boston Celtics Monday night don’t happen every day.
In fact, given the score entering the fourth quarter, the Bulls’ eventual 128-114 victory was unprecedented.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, it’s the first time in the NBA's shot-clock era (i.e. since the 1954-55 season) that a team trailed by 14 or more points entering the fourth quarter, then won the game by 14 or more points. The Bulls trailed 103-89 when the final frame began.
That means the Bulls outscored the Celtics 39-11 in the fourth quarter. In the period, the Bulls shot 13-for-16 (81.2 percent) from the field to the Celtics’ 5-for-23 (21.7 percent), and outrebounded them 16-3 (the Celtics recorded zero defensive rebounds). With 13 points, Zach LaVine outscored Boston’s entire team; DeMar DeRozan came close to doing the same with 10 points of his own.
Needless to say, it was a staggering turnaround, beginning late in the third quarter. The Bulls trailed 96-77 with 2 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the third, then outscored the Celtics 51-18 over the game’s final 14 minutes and change.
"It’s very gratifying to see that we keep the fight. We was down big on the road in a tough place to play in. We didn’t get rattled. We buckled down. The second group came in, brought the energy. And we carried it over from there," DeRozan said after the game. "I knew from coming here (to the Bulls), everybody on the team had that chip on their shoulder and wasn’t gonna lay down for no reason. And we showed it tonight."
They certainly did. In doing so, the Bulls moved their record to an Eastern Conference best 6-1 — and made a little history along the way.