The Boston Celtics won this best-of-seven series against the Chicago Bulls in six games after an unexpected 0-2 start to the series. With that, the Celtics were able to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Boston Celtics Defeat Chicago Bulls, Advance to Eastern Conference Semi-Finals
Bad Start to the Series for Boston
The Celtics had lost their home-court advantage after losing the first two games at The Garden. Game one was close, as the two teams were tied at the end of the third quarter. Despite Isaiah Thomas‘s 33 points and Al Horford‘s 19, the Bulls were able to get the edge over the Celtics, 106-102. Jimmy Butler led the way for the Bulls with 30 points.
Game two, on the other hand, was a 14 point win for Chicago. The Celtics needed more from Thomas and Boston’s supporting cast to answer to the Bulls. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade each had 22 points, helping to lift the Bulls to a second win. Rajon Rondo did suffer a thumb injury and would not return for the remainder of the series.
After an unexpected 2-0 start, it looked as if the Bulls finally gained some of the momentum that they never really found in the regular season.
Celtics Bounce Back to Tie the Series
The Celtics looked like a weak No. 1 seed after losing their home-court advantage to the Bulls, a team that struggled with inconsistency throughout the season. In my series preview, I had Boston in six, but seeing the Bulls up 2-0 going home, I began to have second thoughts. I shouldn’t have.
In game three, the Bulls shot 39% and struggled on both ends of the floor. Butler, who has been the team’s leading scorer, had just two points in the first half. He would end up finishing with 14. Horford had a great game, and four other Celtics players finished in double-digits. The Celtics won game three, 104-87.
Gerald Green was the unexpected star of the show in game four for Boston. He helped lead them in the first half, and he and Thomas each went into halftime with 16 points. Meanwhile, Butler seemed to be the only one doing anything for Chicago after a terrible game 3. The Bulls came out shooting hot in the second half, but Boston went on a 12-0 run late in the third quarter to take a nine-point lead going into the fourth. The Celtics tied the series up behind Thomas’s 33 points.
The Celtics took the last two games to win the series 4-2. Game five went very back and fourth, but the Bulls’ struggle with turnovers cost them a potential series lead. Wade had a terrific game, near a triple-double with 26-11-8, while Butler struggled again like game 3, with only 14. Behind Thomas’s 24 points, the Celtics had multiple members of their supporting cast show up, including Avery Bradley‘s 24 and Horford with 21-7-9.
Game six was the epitome of a complete turn around in the series for Boston as they closed the series out in Chicago. Boston shot 58% in the first quarter, and never lost their lead. In the second quarter, Marcus Smart had an insane block on Jimmy Butler and it felt like that was how things were going to end — with Boston giving everything they had.
Marcus Smart with the chasedown block. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Nv6E1buzSI
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) April 29, 2017
The Celtics had five players in double-figures, Bradley leading them with 23 points and shooting 75% from the field. Butler had 23 for Chicago, but not a lot of help anywhere else. Boston won the game with the biggest winning margin of any game in the series, 105-83.
The Celtics will go on to face the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.