The Chicago Bulls came into game 3 of this first round series with a 2-0 lead, but they learned they were going to be missing a key part of their team in Rajon Rondo. Averaging 11.5 points, 10 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals in the first two games, it was revealed that Rondo suffered a right thumb fracture in game two. He will be evaluated in 7-10 days. Jerian Grant started at point guard in his place.
The loss of Rondo was clear at the beginning of the game. The Celtics came out firing, going on a 14-4 run to begin the game. The Bulls started to make a comeback, but that was shot down quickly. The Celtics shot 7-11 from 3-point range in the first quarter which led to a 33-15 lead. Boston had an insane 11 assists, while Chicago only had 1. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley combined for 18 points, while Jimmy Butler started cold with only 2 in the first quarter.
The second quarter was much different than the first, as the Bulls pulled it together under the wings of Dwayne Wade. They pulled to within 3 going down at the half 41-44.Wade’s veteran leadership came out to play, as he went for 8 points and 3 assists in the quarter. Boston cooled way down shooting just 5-22 from the field, including just 1 of 8 from behind the arc. Chicago ended the quarter on a 24-7 run, and Wade led all halftime scores with 14.
While the second quarter was Dwayne Wade’s, the third quarter belonged to the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas led the way with 8 points and 4 assists in the quarter, while Al Horford had 8 points and 5 rebounds. Although Jimmy Butler started the game 1-12, he scored 6 points in the last 2 minutes of the quarter.The Rondo effect came back into play, as Chicago had 0 assists in the quarter to Boston’s 10. The Celtics took a 76-63 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Celtics handled their business in the fourth, winning the game 104-87. They never let Chicago go on a run to get back in the game. Terry Rozier saw the floor for most of the quarter, scoring 8 points to lead the way for Boston. Horford played a great game, scoring 18 points to go with 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Thomas ended with 16 points and 9 assists, while Avery Bradley finished with 15 points, 7 boards, 7 assists and shot 4-6 from deep. On the other side, Butler and Wade combined for 32 points on 13 of 39 shooting. Chicago dearly missed Rondo, as 8 of their 14 assists came before the fourth quarter. His replacements Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams combine for 8 points and 3 assists on 3-10 shooting. It will be interesting how the Bulls handle the point guard situation for the rest of the series. They are going to need improved played from that position and Butler/Wade or this series is going to swing in the opposite direction very fast.
Game 4 is Sunday at 6:30 EST on TNT.
Baseline Times Staff Writer