The Boston Celtics enter this postseason with very high expectations. They have been given the second best chance to reach the Eastern Conference Finals only behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. After losing in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons many thought that this was the year they could win one maybe two playoff series. This is the best team they have had in a while with Isaiah Thomas, an MVP candidate, and Al Horford, the big money free agent signing in the last offseason. However, the Celtics lost game one at home to the Chicago Bulls and will have to pick up their play to win the series.
Anytime you lose a home playoff game it is not good but it happens. Now the Celtics have to win one on the road in Chicago in order to win the series something they are definitely capable of. The best player on the team, Isaiah Thomas is and was dealing with personal tragedy, after finding out his younger sister Chyna who died in a single-car accident the day before the Celtics began their quest for another NBA Championship. There’s no way that Thomas could have been focusing only on basketball as this is bigger than the game. However, Thomas had a great game. He had 33 points on 10-18 shooting including 10-12 from the free throw line. Thomas also had five rebounds and six assists to go along with his six turnovers. As time passes and he heals he will be able to focus on the game more, but I think if he produced this stat line every game the Celtics would be happy with him.
The only other bright spot on the team that played a lot of minutes was Al Horford. When Horford signed with the Celtics this offseason fans were excited because he brought with him playoff experience, especially after the first round, which the team was lacking for most of their players. He played the most minutes on the team in game one and scored 19 points on 13 shots, along with seven rebounds and eight assists. He only had two turnovers and was a plus 3. All of those numbers were above his season averages, which meant he escalated his game due to the circumstances. Horford and Thomas scored a combined 52 points between the two of them which is a good amount and meant the supporting cast did not do enough to help them win.
The supporting cast needs to pick up the slack if they want to win the series. Jae Crowder only had nine points for the Celtics but it took him 12 shots to get that. Amir Johnson was only 2-8 from the field. Kelly Olynk had seven points on 3-8 shooting. Marcus Smart had nine points on nine shots. Avery Bradley had 14 points but on 13 shots, and he had four turnovers. What really hurt the Celtics was rebounding. They were outrebounded by 21, including eight more offensive rebounds. Robin Lopez had eight offensive rebounds by himself. The Celtics need to figure out a way to stop this before this costs them in another game. They also took four more free throw attempts and made six more than the Celtics which was the difference in the game. The Celtics need to work on being more efficient shooting and grabbing rebounds if they want to beat the Bulls in the series.
The Boston Celtics should still be able to win this series despite being down 1-0. They need to slow down Jimmy Butler who had 30 points along with two clutch free throws at the end of the game to seal the win for the Bulls. The supporting cast of Bradley, Crowder, Smart and others need to pick up the slack from Thomas and Horford and help them win. Game 2 is a must-win for the Celtics and it will be interesting to see how the Celtics play especially Isaiah Thomas after a few days to think about the tragic loss of his sister.
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