Rapid Reaction: Bulls 94, Celtics 82
Rapid Reaction after the Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 94-82 on Thursday night at the United Center:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Joakim Noah flirted with a triple-double (17 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists) while leading six Bulls players in double figures for scoring, including Mike Dunleavy (12 points), who provided a little second-half jolt as Chicago pulled away. Jordan Crawford scored a game-high 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting with seven assists (negated a bit by a game-high five turnovers) to lead Boston. Hustle-happy Kris Humphries put up nine points and 11 rebounds in another solid effort off the bench, while a gloved Jared Sullinger chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds despite the lingering injury on his left hand that's clearly hindering him. Boston turned the ball over 20 times (for 19 points), while the Bulls -- the team with the worst turnover rate in the league -- gave it up just 13 times (albeit for 21 points).
The Celtics were within a point early in the third quarter, but the game got away quickly. The Bulls embarked on an 11-2 run over a four-minute stretch, Luol Deng (14 points) providing the first six points and Noah adding the last five, including a layup that capped the spurt and had the Bulls out front 61-51 with 6:15 to play in the frame. The Celtics made a couple charges, but never got closer than four despite opportunities. Chicago pushed its lead to eight before the end of the third and the lead soared as high as 19 in the final frame.
ANOTHER FLAGRANT FOR SULLINGER
Sullinger picked up his third flagrant foul 1 of the season for a hard takedown of Taj Gibson in the fourth quarter. Players receive one point for each flagrant 1 (and two points for a flagrant 2) and one-game suspensions start after five accrued points. Sullinger isn't in the danger zone yet, but it could be an issue down the road.
Rookie center Vitor Faverani, who had not played in Boston's previous two games, played nine minutes. He had four points and a rebound, but his night was highlighted by a little steal/fastbreak dunk combo. Alas, Faverani was minus-13 overall in plus/minus. ... Coming off a career night in Tuesday's loss to the Hawks, Kelly Olynyk struggled early on defense and played only 7:41. He finished with three points and a rebound. ... The Celtics actually won the battle on the glass, 48-41 overall. ... Keith Bogans was a healthy DNP. ... The officiating in this game? Woof (and both sides would probably agree with that).
WHAT IT MEANS
Boston (13-19) has lost five of its last six. The Celtics must battle Winter Storm Hercules while trying to get back to Boston in advance of Friday's visit from the New Orleans Pelicans. No need for the players to fire up their snowblowers, though, as the Celtics head right back out on the road for a five-game road trip with stops in Oklahoma City, Denver, Los Angeles (Clippers), Golden State, and Portland.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi weighs in on the responsibility Tom Brady shoulders for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski's physicality and how New England will use Darrelle Revis.
Play Podcast Buster Olney talks to Alex Speier, Karl Ravech and Justin Havens about whether the Red Sox will move Jon Lester before the trade deadline, pace of play and much more.
Play Podcast NFL Films' Greg Cosell covers the Cowboys' defense, Rob Gronkowski's impact, Darrelle Revis' performance last season, the Giants' talent level and the outlook for the Cardinals.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Keith Law talk about the Tigers' acquisition of Joakim Soria and whether it's wise to trade within the division. Plus, Matt Gelb on the Phillies' plans.