"Everybody is putting in the extra work- watching film and working on their game- and that's where your confidence always comes from", said Jimmy Butler after the game. He clearly showed he came to play. Chicago was also able to overcome a strong performance from Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, who put up 33 points of his own. Amir Johnson, for example, has had a disgusting series, and played only six minutes in Game 2. "Tonight, our job was easy". We haven't seen him play like that in a long, long time.
"It's one of the few basketball arenas (where) they are sitting right on top of you". I get three or four days of prep on a team, lock into their game plan, and I'm playing plus minutes. "We just have to come together as a group".
Boston used a late surge, including a 7-3 record over its last 10 games and a three-game winning streak to finish the regular season, to overtake the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers for the top seed in the East heading into the playoffs. The Celtics traveled to Chicago without Thomas, who is expected to return to play in Game 3 on Friday night. Those fans booed their team on more than one occasion Tuesday, including a loud chorus as the final seconds ticked off.
All stats and info gathered using ESPN.com on 4/17, after game one of the series. One could argue Robin Lopez has been the second best player for the Bulls, and with the Celtics perhaps going with a small-ball lineup in Game 3 to space the floor offensively, it could open up even more rebounding lanes for Lopez.
If Rondo continues logging minutes like this, 67 through two games, the Celtics need to do one of two things - capitalize when he's off or make his life hard. On Thursday, Hoiberg praised reserves Bobby Portis and Paul Zipser for their parts in Chicago's success. Butler flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
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The Bulls, meanwhile, finished the regular season with a +0.4 point differential and a projected win total of 42. "It's not easy to come into a new team right after training camp, get hurt (Carter-Williams injured his knee and wrist early in November and was sidelined for almost two months), and then when you come back you're out of the rotation".
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, still reeling from the death of his sister, Chyna, in a road accident at the weekend, had a quiet night.
Game 3: Raptors at Bucks, 5 p.m.
Thomas was again unavailable to the media after the game. Rondo's night ended with 11 points and 14 assists on a night when all five Bulls starters reached double figures. Marcus Smart had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench. "At the end of the day, it's about how we play at 6 o'clock [Friday]", Stevens said. Now that the series shifts back to Chicago, losing homecourt advantage could prove costly for the Celtics.
"We have the unit to go to Chicago and take care of business".