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Bulls show dominance in win over older Celtics

Jan 14, 2012, 2:41 AM EDT

Derrick Rose, Paul Pierce Getty Images

How this story usually goes: the veteran team looks polished if disinterested at times, but when it’s over they finish it off like a contender; the younger team looks overwhelmed early, overcomes its early struggles to make a game of it but falls short.

This was the opposite of that.

The Chicago Bulls pulled away early and looked dominant, never trailed and looked like the contenders when it mattered, while the Celtics mounted a spirited comeback but ultimately fell short. The Bulls won 88-79.

That’s kind of where we are with teams.

The Bulls are a good defensive team, but you need to combine that with an ice-cold Celtics squad to get a start like this — Boston started this game 5-of-27 shooting. They were down 52-33 Bulls at the half, where Chicago shot 54 percent, Boston just 33 percent. It looked like a blowout.

But Boston would not go quietly into that good night. Rajon Rondo — make no mistake, this is his team now — had six points and five assists in the quarter, and finished with 18 and 11. More importantly the Celtics picked up their defensive intensity.

With 10 minutes left it was 67-66 Chicago and it looked like we were in for a close finish. But that’s when the best player on the floor — Derrick Rose — asserted himself. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter and 25 overall. The Bulls got some easy buckets in transition. Luol Deng looked good all night and finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Boston had no good answer for all that, Paul Pierce was 3-for-12 shooting for the game.

This is kind of where we are with these sides right now — the Bulls are clearly title contenders that know how to put teams away. The Celtics have that in them, but there are questions left about the depth of their talent level.

  1. ndrocks2 - Jan 14, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Old does not begin to define the Celtics, they are easily two years past and Ainge is responsible. They got lucky with Rondo being drafted so low. Other than that how long can you ride three old players and this season with game schedule condensed will only make it worse. Don’t believe they have beat a team with winning record.

  2. readysethike - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Paul Pierce was horrible last night, he has really lost a step, he looks very slow and uninspired

  3. havlicekstoletheball - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Pierce is indeed old and slow. Cannot create his own shot against even a mediocre defender, and was completely stifled last night.

    The real worry, though, is Garnett. He hasn’t been effective in a single game all season. Slow, uninterested in mixing it up under the boards, and getting torched on defense.

    If this team wins 25 games without a major upgrade to the starting lineup it will be surprising.

    • Kansachusetts - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Pierce is not as old as he looks. He’s injured and should get better. He’s limping on court, has no lift and no lateral movement.

      Garnett, on the other hand, is a worry.

  4. hojo20 - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Typical NBA game. Only the last 5 minutes is worth watching.

  5. acdc363 - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    This was such a hard game to watch while wearing a Celtics jersey

  6. willardj - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Ainge really screwed this team over by trading away Perkins. Also trading away Davis didn’t help either. There’s something to be said of having good chemistry.

    • havlicekstoletheball - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      Perkins actually hasn’t played very well in OKC. He surely didn’t in last year’s playoffs.

  7. mcjon22 - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Time to break them apart and start over. You could get some nice pieces back for KG, Allen and Pierce.

    • Josh Perez - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      The only pieces I would give for any of them are on my niece’s Lego box.

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