Thanks to another all-out effort by the few healthy players left on the roster, the Celtics outlasted the visiting Bulls 71-69 to win ugly, earning their eighth victory in nine tries since the first of the injury dominoes fell two weeks ago.
The Celtics (28-24) climbed four games above .500 for the first time all season as four C's reached double digits, led remarkably by Brandon Bass (14 points, 9 rebounds). Kevin Garnett (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Paul Pierce (8-6-6) scored the C's final nine points as they held off a Chicago charge to close the final quarter.
The Celtics' 19 combined points in the second and third quarters marked the team's lowest point total in consecutive quarters of a single game during the shot clock era, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Likewise, their 71 total points was the third-lowest point total in a Celtics victory since the inception of the shot clock.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Defense: The Celtics held the Bulls to 15 points in the first quarter and 13 in the third. Chicago's five starters — Luol Deng (4-10 FG), Carlos Boozer (5-14 FG), Joakim Noah (3-8 FG), Richard Hamilton (1-6 FG) and Nate Robinson (2-7) — shot a combined 33.3 percent. It's a good thing, because the C's actually shot worse until …
Heart beats: As they've done since the injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa, the Celtics never quit. Playing their third game in four nights, shooting miserably and trailing by as many as seven in the first few minutes of the final quarter, the C's found life. Capped by back-to-back buckets from Jason Terry (12 points) and Jeff Green (8 points) off the bench — both assisted by Garnett — the Celtics put together a 12-0 run, holding the Bulls scoreless for a stretch of 5:44 midway through the fourth quarter and capturing a 59-54 lead.
Bass finishing: In desperate need of offensive help, the Celtics found an unlikely hero. Beginning to emerge from a season-long funk, Bass scored his highest total (14) since Nov. 28. He also grabbed more rebounds (9) than he has since Nov. 25. Bass and Garnett combined for 26 points and 20 rebounds, forming a formidable frontcourt that limited a sizable advantage by the bigger Bulls, who got 27 rebounds from Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Offense: The Celtics made eight field goals in the second and third quarters combined. After scoring 24 points and taking a nine-point lead in the opening quarter, the C's made 4-of-18 shots in the second quarter (22.2 FG%) and 4-of-21 attempts in the third (19.0 FG%), scoring 11 and eight points, respectively. Somehow, someway, the Celtics trailed just 49-43 entering the frenetic fourth quarter.
Wayward captain: After a superb stretch of basketball during their recent seven-game winning streak, Paul Pierce battled through his toughest night since Rondo's ACL injury. He started a putrid 1-of-11 from the floor and missed his first two free throw attempts. While he added six assists and six rebounds, it's remarkable the Celtics were in the game at all without their captain's offense. Of course, Pierce managed to deliver another dagger of a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics a 65-60 lead with three minutes remaining.
Without Wilcox: Whether he's still suffering from the injuries that have kept him from playing 20 games this season or simply missing Rondo's alley-oops, Chris Wilcox hasn't been the same since returning from his thumb issue two weeks ago. Outside a few solid stretches against the Heat, Lakers and Bobcats, he's struggled to make a consistent impact. Wilcox played 11 minutes against the Bulls, didn't attempt a shot and recorded as many fouls and turnovers as he did rebounds (2).
Christian and Chris talk about overrated Pats players this season and in the past and then get into the QB issue on the team. They talk about all three guys, what they bring to the table and if they can keep their head above water without the best QB in the league for 4 weeks. Then...Karlos Williams was released by the Bills - should the Pats consider adding the overweight second year running back? Christian also brings up Dante Scarnecchia and gets Price's opinion on if this one man can truly improve a shaky offensive line.
Christian Arcand is in for Tanguay for NFL Sunday with Chris Price. The guys talk about the victory over the Bears, Jimmy G's progress and their expectations for the Pats defense this season. Arcand thinks that there are more holes on the D than some fans realize.
We check in with Bill Belichick after the first Preseason game for our weekly "Patriots Monday" discussion.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts after the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1
David Price pitched a gem and Andrew Benintendi makes one of the top highlight catches of the year as the Sox take the first game of four against the Rays, 6-2. Christian Arcand recaps the game and takes all of your Sox calls.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who made a highlight reel catch nearly going over the wall in left field robbing Steven Souza Jr of a home run
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Gerry, Kirk and Mut discuss the firing of a Philadelphia radio host who ripped a rival host for having a white producer who imitated a fake black caller.
Kirk, Gerry and Mut get into some David Ortiz legacy talk in the 8am hour of the Thursday show.
After Kirk & Gerry get their digs in on Mut and some movie news, they move on to some Patriots QB talk with an eye on Friday night's game in Carolina.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian debate the value of playing Tom Brady in the preseason, and they opine about whether or not he should even be on the team plane.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian talk Benintendi's knee injury, and compare Big Papi's season to other 40 year old players. And the juicing question comes up again...
Glenn, Lou, and Christian debate John Farrell's decision to stay with Porcello into the 8th, and his use of the bullpen.
We discuss the Patriots latest acquisition, what they had to give up, and how Mingo will fit on this defense.
A discussion about the disappointing end of the Sox road trip turns into an ultimatum on whether or not pro baseball players are aloud to use fatigue as an excuse.
The up again, down again Red Sox are feeling down again after blowing two very winnable games to end this road trip. We discuss it with you.
Kirk Minihane sits down with former producer Chris Curtis? Or is it current producer Chris Curtis? Either way, Kirk and Chris talk about what happened in their previous tenure together, where it went wrong, and why Curtis is now back with the show.
Kirk Minihane and Gary Tanguay sit down together on Enough About Me for the first time. These two divisive figures talk about Gary's career and his late evolution into a controversial broadcaster. Nobody is spared from Kirk and Gary's wrath on this episode and it will surely make some people at the two sports radio stations very uncomfortable.
Jerry is joined by Red Sox legend Bill Lee to talk about his new biopic "Spaceman," Lee's unique philosophy, political beliefs, drug use and what makes him a cultural icon decades after he retired from baseball.
Christian Fauria and Dr. Gill talk about the process and steps football players have to take when rehabbing injuries during the off season. Focusing on Dion Lewis, Nate Solder, and Sebastian Vollmer
NESN has hired a new anchor who has a history dating pro players. With the trend of that happening in Boston the last few years, does NESN need to keep an eye on Kacie McDonnell?More from this show
Minihane, Callahan and Mutnansky dive further into the Brady - Belichick dynamic as Tom's four-game suspension gets closer.More from this show