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).
Daniel Jeremiah calls NFL Sunday to preview the NFL Draft and discuss what the New England Patriots will be looking to do starting Thursday night.
In hour 2 of NFL Sunday, we get more draft talk from Price and Dickerson. They discuss if the Pats will trade up or down at all or what they can get by staying put. Also, what does the RB position look like for New England? We hear from Daniel Jeremiah from the NFL Network and NFL.com and get his thoughts on the NFL draft and what the Patriots will do. Finally, the boys talk about the Greg Hardy situation in Dallas.
It's finally the week of the NFL Draft and the guys are psyched. They kick off the show discussing the release of the NFL schedule and how they expect the Pats to do against a relatively easy road for the Super Bowl champs. Greg and Chris talk about any difficult match-ups and if any teams in the AFC East can contend with the Patriots. Then the boys move on to the Draft and where the Pats may go. WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia joins the program to discuss his thoughts on the upcoming draft, the Pats needs and his ideas on why the Patriots may in fact trade up this season.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox super utility man Brock Holt, who hit the game winning 3 run home run that propelled the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, and played some stellar defense to seal the win.
Continued Red Sox talk on benching Victorino and the Red Sox pitching issues..and Sean's love for the band Poison.
Dale and Michael check in with the Red Sox manager John Farrell for his weekly take on all things Boston Red Sox.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Stephen A. expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's White House snub and Floyd Mayweather's past.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Kevin Love and the Celtics.
Sparks flew in the final game of the series as the Cavaliers swept Boston. Kelly Olynyk got tied up with Kevin Love and dislocated his shoulder. Love called the move "bush league." JR Smith was ejected for punching Jae Crowder in the face as well, and could face subsequent discipline from the league.
Led by Christian Fauria, the guys delve into 5 topics relating to all the hometown teams. There is a new intro by a special guest, plus Lou Merloni, DJ extraordinaire, nails the post.
The guys debate whether or not the Celtics even have a chance against the Cavs in game 4 and what the mentality of fans should be.
Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.
We talk to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com and discuss his column on Rajon Rondo from ESPN and ESPN the Magazine.
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Football fans and Fantasy Footballers know that there is NO Offseason in the NFL, so Jim and Pete are back with the first of a series of Fantasy Football Podcasts of the “NFL Draft variety.” Tune in and you’ll get an in depth analysis on Pete’s most first batch of scouting reports on this year’s crop of Rookie Targets. Jim and Pete kick it off with a lot of focus on a Runningback rich draft class, some of the top Wide Receiver talent and touch on the top Quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Enjoy!
Uncle Buck joins Chris on the show again to talk about Raw from 4/20, finishing maneuvers and gives a few classic match picks.
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.More from this show
Jim Palmer continues to take shots at David Ortiz, and everyone wants to weigh in on Tom Brady's White House no-show.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry dissect one of the most ridiculous columns we've seen come down the pike in awhile.More from this show
We listen in on the Patriots Super Bowl visit to the White House, and then discuss why MVP Tom Brady was not in attendance.More from this show