Boston Celtics: 2014Game74

Rapid Reaction: Bulls 94, C's 80

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
10:21
PM ET
Rapid reaction after the Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 94-80 on Monday night at the United Center:

THE NITTY GRITTY
Joakim Noah filled up his stat line yet again, registering 19 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks over 39 minutes as the Bulls motored away in the fourth quarter. Mike Dunleavy scored a team-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while Jimmy Butler added 18 on 8-of-13 shooting. Jerryd Bayless, pinch-hitting for the resting Rajon Rondo, and Brandon Bass each scored a team-high 18 points for the Celtics. Bass added 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists over 31:27. Phil Pressey (9 points, 4 steals, 3 assists) and Kelly Olynyk (seven points, seven rebounds) gave Boston a first-half jolt off the bench.

TURNING POINT
With it a one-point game after three quarters, the Bulls opened the final frame on a 13-0 run over the first 3:44 to tear the game open. Noah had six points during the outburst, as well as a block that led to a Dunleavy 3-pointer in transition. The Celtics' second unit, which carried the team at times in the first half, missed its first six shots in the quarter and Boston was staring at an 84-70 deficit with 8:16 to play. Chicago's lead went as high as 16.

LOOSE BALLS
Avery Bradley sat out the second half due to soreness in his right ankle (the same one that forced him to miss 19 games recently). Chris Johnson started the second half in his place. ... The Celtics turned the ball over 18 times despite not giving it away at all in the first quarter. ... Joel Anthony was a healthy DNP. ... Rondo was active, but did not play on the second night of a back-to-back. He spent the first half as color commentator for the Boston TV broadcast.

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (23-51) have lost five straight and 10 of their last 11. Not that anyone was holding out hope, but Boston's loss, combined with Atlanta's victory over Philadelphia, formally eliminated the Celtics from playoff contention. The Celtics will temporarily tie Utah for the fourth-worst record in basketball (pending how the Jazz fare versus the Knicks). Boston will take Tuesday off before visiting the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

W2W4: Celtics vs. Bulls (Game 74 of 82)

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
12:35
PM ET
The Boston Celtics (23-50, 8-27 away) visit the Chicago Bulls (41-32, 23-14 home) on Monday night at the United Center (8 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

  • INSTANT REPLAY: Thanks to a career-high 33-point outburst by reserve guard DJ Augustin, the Bulls topped the Celtics 107-102 on Sunday in Boston. What can Boston do to avoid allowing the Bulls to sweep the three-game season series in the Windy City? "If they score 107, we will lose. There’s no way you can depend on scoring up in the 100s to beat these guys. You have to defend."

  • RONDO ON THE MIC: Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will sit out the second night of a back-to-back as he works his way back from ACL surgery. He made the trip with the team to Chicago, however, and will serve as color commentator for CSN's broadcast for at least the first quarter of the game. His teammates are well aware that he'll be critiquing them. "I better bring by A-Game," said Jared Sullinger. "I know that much, just because I know he’s going to trash me the whole time. I better bring my A-Game."

  • LOOSE BALLS: Jerryd Bayless is expected to start in Rondo's place at point guard. ... The Celtics will be formally eliminated from playoff contention with a loss combined with either a New York or Atlanta victory. ... Two notes from STATS LLC: Boston has dropped seven of the last eight meetings at the United Center, including a 94-82 defeat Jan. 2 as Noah led the Bulls with 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. ... Noah has a double-double in six straight meetings with the Celtics, averaging 13.7 points, 12 rebounds and 6.8 assists in that stretch.

(Read full game preview)
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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9