CHICAGO—The Celtics arrived Friday night at the United Center ready to push past the Bulls and capture the first Playoff series win for Isaiah Thomas and Brad Stevens. Boston rolled over a Chicago team who seemed lackadaisical and their regular season form of dysfunction.
Boston captured Game 6 with relative ease on the backs of great Al Horford and Avery Bradley performances. The Bulls found themselves down early and could never claw back in any capacity. Frustration, which plagued the (41-41) Bulls, was only reinforced as Boston went up by as many as 30 points late in the game in an eerily quiet United Center.
Abysmal performances from Dwyane Wade (2 points on 1-10 shooting) only dug the Bulls in a deeper hole as their once hopeful season came crashing down in the matter of four straight Boston wins; three of which came on Chicago’s home floor.
The Celtics were on the brink of a failed season when Chicago stole the first two games at the TD Garden. After weak team performances, Boston rallied behind their emotional leader Isaiah Thomas, and they entered each proceeding game believing they were going to win it for him. And that, they did.
“I think they appreciated being counted out a little bit,” Brad Stevens said following the series clincher. This Celtics roster is stuffed with players who no one wanted or who were second thoughts entering the NBA. “It’s just our DNA. It’s not gonna be pretty, but we don’t care if it’s pretty,” Jae Crowder said. Now, with a confusing and emotional series behind them, the Green can look to capture another series on their road to 16 wins in these 2016-17 Playoffs.
Unfortunately, celebration comes with a price for this Celtics team. Isaiah Thomas left the floor of the United Center with 4 minutes to go in regulation and a secure series clinching blowout in the bag. Thomas took a flight from Chicago to Tacoma last night where he attended the funeral of his younger sister, Chyna, earlier Saturday afternoon. “I know he’s going to be prepared for the game,” Bradley said of his longtime friend and teammate. With a quick turnaround and a 1pm tip-off in Boston on Sunday against the Wizards, the Celtics have stressed from the beginning that Isaiah take as much time as he needs to mentally prepare himself for each upcoming game. “If it becomes too much and he needs to stay (in Tacoma), whatever he needs,” Stevens added.
If drama, intrigue, and a shifting dynamic were the words to describe the Bulls Celtics series, just wait for this Washington series.
Celtics in 6.