The Celtics, who are the number one seed, were expected by some to roll over the Chicago Bulls, who had to scrape and claw to make the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. In Game 1, the Celtics got a shot to the system when the Bulls came out and took care of business 106-102, taking the quick 1-0 series lead. After that game, many thought the Celtics would come back strong and win Game 2. But the game was even worse than the first one and the Bulls won going away Tuesday 111-97. So at this point, the Bulls have dominated the Celtics and plenty seemed to be shocked and trying to figure out how the Bulls are doing it. Well, one thing that is evident is the physicality, especially on the offensive end of the court. The Bulls have completely dominated the Celtics on the offensive boards the entire series. Everyone on Chicago’s team is attacking the boards, but the main guy in punishing the Celtics by getting offensive rebounds is Robin Lopez. It seems that whoever they put on him to keep him off the offensive glass is getting defeated every time. One memorable moment in this series was when a missed shot went up and two Celtics were trying to block Lopez out. Well, both failed as Lopez still got the offensive rebound in spite of that. Through two games, the Bulls have 31 total offensive rebounds and there seems to be nothing that Boston can do about it. The Celtics are not exactly the biggest team in the world.
The Bulls are not only doing things on the offensive end, but the defensive end as well. The Celtics star, Isaiah Thomas, is a very good offensive player. He can attack the rim and shoot for range, making things difficult when guarding him. But after him, the Celtics lack someone else that can carry them offensively for stretches at a time. The Bulls have exploited that, especially in the fourth quarter of the first two games. The Bulls have put pressure on Thomas and tried to force the basketball out of his hands each time. Of course Thomas still gets some buckets while the Bulls are employing this scheme, but there is still times where he gets to the rim still and makes things happen. But for the most part, other guys are having to make plays and so far, those other guys are not coming through. The Bulls are simply exploiting the flaws that are within the Celtics offense. Besides Thomas, they have no other playmaker on the court that they can run the offense through and the Bulls are betting on that every single game. So far, that bet they are making is working like a charm.
The physicality on the offensive boards and the defensive strategy the Bulls are using has been effective. Couple those two things with the exemplary play of Rajon Rondo and the Bulls bench outplaying the Celtics bench and now we are where we are, with the Celtics down two games to the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls. Boston definitely is up against it, as the Bulls have completely dominated the series so far. With them taking both games in Boston and heading home, it seems that all the momentum is in the favor of the Bulls at this point. Will Boston respond? We shall see. But right now, there is panic in Beantown.