The Celtics don’t have to worry about Rajon Rondo just yet.

The Bulls point guard, speaking to reporters after at shootaround before Wednesday’s Game 5, said he’s not ready to return.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

The Celtics don’t have to worry about Rajon Rondo just yet.

The Bulls point guard, speaking to reporters after at shootaround before Wednesday’s Game 5, said he’s not ready to return.

Rondo broke his thumb during Chicago’s victory in Game 2, which he dominated by falling a rebound shy of a triple-double. At that point, he had been instrumental in the eighth-seeded Bulls sweeping the first two games in Boston.

They then returned to Chicago and lost two on their home court without their floor general, stymied by poor play from backups Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. Isaiah Canaan, who hadn’t played more than seven minutes in a game since the All-Star break, as USA Today noted, will get the start in Game 5 after scoring 13 points in 34 minutes in Game 4.

There’s no word yet on whether Rondo will be able to return in time for Friday’s Game 6.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Apr 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the first quarter in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago’s offense hasn’t looked the same without Rondo (M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rajon Rondo has been ruled out for Game 5 in Boston on Wednesday, but Games 6 and 7 still remain open.

Rondo, who injured his right thumb in Game 2, had his hard cast removed this week and was taking jump shots on Tuesday before team practice. He was initially expected to miss seven to 10 days — ruling him out for the rest of the series — but after the Bulls dropped two straight in Chicago and are now on the verge of falling behind, 3-2, in their best-of-7 series against the Celtics, the Bulls could turn to Rondo for help.

However, Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is calling a potential comeback against the Celtics unlikely, but stated if there’s one person who can pull it off it’s Rondo.

“This is honestly the first time he’s touched a basketball with that right hand,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes. He’s going to continue to condition and do everything that he can. He was in the weight room yesterday getting a good session in there. It was his first time back in the weight room. He’s just getting this whole process started.

“Just watching him wince a little bit when the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a longshot. But if there’s anybody who can do it and will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo because of the competitor he is.” (Chicago Tribune)

If the Bulls were to fall behind 3-2, it’d be hard to envision Rondo sitting on the bench in street clothes given the Bulls haven’t won a game in this series without him. One thing’s for sure is Rondo will not play in Game 5 but the rest of the series is still up in the air.

Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 10 assists and 8.5 rebounds in Games 1 and 2 before he was forced to sit out the rest of the series.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

As has been the case all season, when it mattered most Sunday, Isaiah Thomas was savior for the Celtics. 

With the United Center crowd roaring after the hometown Bulls came all the way back from a 20-point hole to take their only lead, the Celtics’ NBA MVP candidate took over the game in a way only he can. 

Apr 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gerald Green (30) grabs a rebound against the Chicago Bulls during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Gerald Green grabs a rebound against the Chicago Bulls during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center. (Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports)

As has been the case all season, when it mattered most Sunday, Isaiah Thomas was savior for the Celtics. 

With the United Center crowd roaring after the hometown Bulls came all the way back from a 20-point hole to take their only lead, the Celtics’ NBA MVP candidate took over the game in a way only he can. 

Thomas scored a game-high 33 points with seven assists to lead the Celtics to a 104-95 win over the Bulls in Game 4 Sunday night in Chicago to pull Boston in a 2-2 tie as the series heads back to TD Garden for Game 5 Wednesday night. Game 6 will be next Friday back in Chicago. 

The visiting team has won all four games in the series while the Celtics have taken full advantage of the Bulls without Rajon Rondo (fractured right thumb). 

Gerald Green showed exactly why Brad Stevens put him in the starting lineup. 

For the second straight game, the Celtics came out on fire. While not quite as blazing hot from beyond the arc, the Celtics still drained four triples in the opening 12 minutes as they raced out to a 30-18 lead. And for the second straight game, the Bulls looked utterly lost without Rajon Rondo, who appealed his $25,000 fine for attempting to trip Jae Crowder in the first half of Game 3 Friday night. 

The key to the first quarter was the energy Green was able to provide, getting his second straight start. He was flying all over the court, driving to the basket while hitting a 3-of-5 shots. Green finished the first half with 16 points, already a playoff career high. He finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds. 

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 10 first-quarter points as visitors claimed a 30-18 lead after 1. The quarter ended on a horrific missed goaltending call when Terry Rozier went up for a layup in the closing seconds. Bobby Portis blocked the ball after it had hit the glass. Brad Stevens spend the closing moments of the quarter screaming as he approached the midcourt line. The Celtics coach managed to avoid a technical foul. 

(For a full statistical recap and box, click here).

The Celtics opened the second quarter with mainly reserves and managed to build a pair of 20-point leads. With the Celtics up 41-21 following Green’s third 3-pointer, there appeared to be a bit of a turning point. Marcus Smart came down with a defensive rebound only to be stripped from behind by Isaiah Canaan, who converted a lay-up. Jimmy Butler trailed on the play and a frustrated Marcus Smart turned and lightly shoved Butler in the chest. 

A double-technical was called and the Bulls seemed a bit more energized. The Celtics built the lead to 20 again at 45-25 before going on a 15-6 spurt. Like Game 3, the Bulls closed the first half with some momentum but Jae Crowder’s three with 55 seconds left put the lead back to 55-42. 

Another key to the Celtics building a 20-point advantage was the play of the Kelly Olynyk. With Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Al Horford on the bench, it was Olynyk who provided tight defense on Dwyane Wade and drilled a wide open three on the other end as the Celtics maintained a comfortable lead. 

Avery Bradley picked up his third foul with just under six minutes left in the second quarter when it appeared Butler enhanced a swim move by Bradley in the Bulls front court.

Looking for a spark and clearly dissatisfied with Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams in their attempt to fill in for the injured Rajon Rondo, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg turned to Canaan to start the third quarter with Wade, Butler, Robin Lopez and Nikola Mirotic. 

It worked. 

Robin Lopez rediscovered his offensive rebounding prowess in the opening two minutes that was his calling card in the first two games in Boston. Lopez put-back with 9:30 left cut the Celtics’ lead to six, 59-53. But on the next possession, Gerald Green followed his own miss with a thunderous dunk that was followed by fist-pumping from the Celtics bench. The Celtics got a stop and then Crowder drove to the basket for bucket to build the lead back to 10, 63-53. 

The Bulls capped their 40-18 run to take their first lead on a Robin Lopez layup. Then Isaiah Thomas took over when the Celtics needed him the most. 

But Thomas came right back with drives to the basket on the next two possessions to reclaim the lead at 67-65. After a Mirotic missed three, Thomas found a wide-open Horford under the basket for a dunk. Thomas had two more free throws and another layup as the Celtics used a 12-0 run to take a 75-65 lead. The spurt was capped by a Marcus Smart block of Jimmy Butler that lead to a Thomas layup on the other end. Smart yelled “get that [expletive] outta here” immediately after the rejection.

The Celtics finished the third quarter on a 16-5 run to take a 79-70 lead into the final quarter. 

Smart made another remarkable play when he denied Butler on an alley-oop pass from Wade with five minutes left. Avery Bradley capped it off on the other end with a layup that put the Celtics ahead, 94-83, with 4:54 left in the fourth. 

Smart’s three from the left baseline with 3:28 left put Boston up, 97-86. The Bulls never really threatened in the final four minutes as they jacked up ill-advised threes and came up short on layups around the basket. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

There is life in the Celtics after all. 

Thanks to a red-hot Jae Crowder early, an energized Isaiah Thomas in the third quarter and brilliant 3-point shooting, the Celtics managed to turn the tables and rout the Bulls, 104-87, Friday night in a must-have Game 3 at Chicago’s United Center.

Apr 21, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots over defender Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) during the first quarter in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots over defender Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) during the first quarter in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center. (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

There is life in the Celtics after all. 

Thanks to a red-hot Jae Crowder early, an energized Isaiah Thomas in the third quarter and brilliant 3-point shooting, the Celtics managed to turn the tables and rout the Bulls, 104-87, Friday night in a must-have Game 3 at Chicago’s United Center.

The Bulls still lead the best-of-7 series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Sunday night in Chicago before the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 Wednesday in Boston. 

The Celtics connected on an amazing 17-of-37 shots from 3-point range (.459) as eight different Celtics hit at least one shot from long range. Al Horford led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds while Crowder and Thomas each had 16. 

The Celtics absolutely needed to take advantage of the fractured right thumb that will likely sideline Rajon Rondo for the rest of the series. And early on, they did. With Rondo out wearing a split on his right arm and a unique short-sleeve burgundy suit with white sneakers on the bench, the Celtics clearly looked more energized to start the game – and definitely more confident. 

The Celtics did the bulk of their damage from 3-point range. They converted five of their first seven tries from deep and finished the first 12 minutes making 7-of-11 from deep. 

Horford was a monster on both sides of the floor. He had two steals, a block and converted both shots from beyond the arc. 

Gerald Green, in the lineup at the ‘4’ position for Amir Johnson, moved Horford to the center position and provided some early spark with drives to the paint. 

The Celtics jumped out to a 14-4 lead with an 11-0 run. Then, after the Bulls responded with six straight, the Celtics went on a 13-0 run sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from the red-hot Jae Crowder. The Celtics led 33-15 after one. 

The lead ballooned to 37-17 in the opening minute of the second quarter as Jimmy Butler was on the bench. But the Bulls’ bench got hot and responded with an 11-0 run that energized the late-arriving Bulls crowd at the United Center. 

(For the full box score and details, click here). 

In desperate need of better play from Avery Bradley, the Celtics got it in the first half. The guard connected on his first four shots, including three threes, scoring 11 points as the Celtics stabilized things midway through the second with a 42-32 lead. 

With the three pointers not falling in the second quarter, the Celtics became too dependent on the perimeter game and couldn’t find any second chance points. The Celtics scored just nine points in the first 10 minutes of the second quarter as the Bulls cut the lead down to six. Adding to the misery was the news that Green rolled his left ankle midway through the quarter. It was not considered serious and he had it taped to ready him for a return in the second half. 

Nikola Mirotic’s left baseline three cut the lead to three, 44-41, with 28 seconds left in the half. The Celtics were held to just 11 points in the second quarter and gave up a 24-7 Bulls run to end the half and led 44-41 at the break. 

Trailing 44-43 early in the third quarter, the Bulls had a chance to take their first lead since 4-3 but Jimmy Butler missed a turnaround 12-footer. The Celtics responded with the next eight points to build a 52-43 lead, thanks to a pair of threes from Isaiah Thomas. Butler started the game ice cold, missing nine of his first ten shots. 

Thomas was magical in the third quarter, with hesitation dribble drives, 3-point shooting and perfect pick-and-roll passes to Horford. The Celtics built their lead back to 14, 64-50. Thomas was even a great cheerleader, giving Terry Rozier and swat on the leg from the bench after his made three made it 69-54 with three minutes left in the third. 

Thanks to the rediscovered offense, the Celtics outscored the Bulls, 32-22, in the third and took a 76-63 lead to the fourth quarter.

Avery Bradley’s three with 7:28 left in the fourth put the Celtics ahead, 88-69. Rozier added a three with six minutes left to extend the lead to 91-73. The Bulls emptied their bench with four minutes left, waving the white flag and shifting their focus to Game 4 Sunday night in Chicago. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Gerald Green

Gerald Green

After a poor start to the series, very few expected Amir Johnson to be in Brad Stevens’ starting lineup for Game 3 against the Bulls but this is certainly a surprise to say the least.

Gerald Green will get the nod against the Bulls, he will replace Amir Johnson and join Al Horford and Jae Crowder in the front court with the usual back court duo of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley.

Green, who hasn’t seen the floor since Game 1 when he clocked in 5:34, will look to give the Celtics a boost offensively while causing mismatch problems for Chicago’s big men. Green is not only a threat from outside, but also has the athleticism to blow past his defender off the dribble.

Celtics can certainly use that athleticism on the defensive end, along his rebounding capabilities. However, if the Bulls get off to a quick start, expect Stevens to turn to the bench for relief. Green will have a short leash in terms of playing time but will certainly provide much needed energy for the Celtics.

Nonetheless, Brad Stevens’ move is still a surprising one, given the fact that Green played only 47 games throughout the regular season, including only seven with the rest of Boston’s starting five.

He averaged 5.6 points, while shooting 40.9 percent from the floor along with 1.8 rebounds in 11.4 minutes throughout the regular season.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

Tom Brady is on board with the Celtics.

With the team trailing 0-2, Brady offered his support on Friday with a social media post that read: It’s how you come back… Good luck tonight. We all have your back! #YourTurn

 

It’s how you come back… Good luck tonight. We all have your back! #YourTurn

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The Celtics’ task just got a lot easier.

The Chicago Bulls announced on their website that guard Rajon Rondo suffered a broken thumb in Game 2 and will be out indefinitely. Surgery is not required.