The Bulls lost their second game in a row as they fell to the Celtics 119-103 on Monday night. Jaylen Brown (26 points) and Jayson Tatum (24 points) combined for 50 of Boston's points. Marcus Smart added a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists.
Zach LaVine led the way for the Bulls with 30 points while Thaddeus Young just missed a double-double himself with 16 points and nine assists.
The Bulls looked to rebound after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night when they scored a season-low 90 points. This is the first time the Bulls faced off against the Celtics this season, although the two teams were scheduled to play on January 12th before the game was postponed due to COVID-19 protocol.
Wendell Carter Jr. was out once again due to a thigh contusion so Daniel Gafford started in his place for the second straight game.
Kemba Walker rested his knee given the Celtics were playing the second game of a back-to-back. Jayson Tatum returned to the Celtics lineup for the first time since January 8th.
Young Man's Game
The Bulls started off well, hitting their first three shots from the field, including three-pointers from Coby White and Zach LaVine. LaVine even hit his 400th career three-point shot as a Bulls player in the first quarter.
But the Bulls would go cold as they made just one field goal over a nearly five-minute spell. The Celtics defense also did a solid job as they held the Bulls to a 45% field-goal percentage in the first quarter. The Bulls struggled mightily at the free-throw line, going 2/8 from the charity stripe.
Marcus Smart filled in nicely for the absent Kemba Walker as the vet scored ten points and dished out five assists in the first quarter alone. But like they have all season, the Bulls bench did a tremendous job, this time led by Thaddeus Young who scored ten points in the opening frame.
The Bulls came into the second quarter down eight points, 33-25. Thaddeus Young and the rest of the Bulls bench did continue to outperform their counterparts, finishing the first half outscoring the Boston bench 27-15 at the end of the first half.
The Bulls continued to shoot the ball at a decent clip, led by Zach LaVine, who scored 11 points in the first half. But the rest of the starting lineup failed to show up in a significant way as the rest of the starting five scored a combined 12 points in the first half.
On top of all that, the Bulls turned the ball over ten times in the first half alone, twice as many as the Celtics. The Bulls also did not get to the free-throw line in the second quarter and remained at two makes from the charity stripe at the midway point.
The Celtics went into the second half leading by ten points, 60-50.
Celtics Start Hot in Second Half
The Bulls defense struggled mightily out of the second half gates as the Celtics went on an 11-0 run to start. The Bulls didn't get their first points of the half until a Thaddeus Young layup with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Celtics ended up shooting over 50% from beyond the arc in the third quarter as they extended their lead to as many as 20 points. Jaylen Brown led the way for the boys in green with 14 points in the third quarter.
A Game Of Runs Sees Bulls Fall Short
While the Celtics shot very well from the field, the Bulls would not go down without a fight. After being down by as many as 20 points, the Bulls pulled to within single digits with nine minutes remaining helped by an 11-1 run that included a pair of three-pointers from Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
But the Celtics extended their lead to 20 points with a 14-4 run toward the latter part of the quarter which simply proved too much for the Bulls to overcome.
What's On Tap Next
The Bulls' next game was supposed to be against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, but that contest is postponed due to COVID-19 protocols in the Grizzlies' camp. So, the Bulls will play next at the United Center when they host the Trail Blazers on Saturday, January 30th. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago.
Stay up to date on all things Bulls basketball by tuning into the Bulls On Tap podcast.