You know how the last day before you go on a much-anticipated vacation you are pretty much useless at work? Your body is at the job but your mind is doing tequila shots in Cancun.
That was pretty much the Bulls at the Celtics Wednesday.
It’s ugly. Joan Rivers without plastic surgery ugly. This is what it looks like when two defensive-minded teams —both missing key offensive weapons — get together.
Boston could build another Faneuil Hall with all the bricks from this game. But a Celtics team that scored just 8 points in the third quarter (and 11 in the second) scored 28 in the fourth behind a couple Jason Terry threes and rallied to beat the Bulls 71-69.
Yes, that’s the final score, not the score after three quarters. I told you, it wasn’t pretty.
The Celtics will take it — they have won eight of nine games heading into the All-Star break and they are playing with a real urgency and desperation that wasn’t there earlier in the season. They have solidified their place in the playoffs with this streak and have gotten back to playing like a team with an identity.
Meanwhile the Bulls enter the break having dropped five of seven and looking like a team that really needs a few days off. And Derrick Rose back.
This game was never pretty. It was 36-35 Bulls at the half. Chicago led despite having 12 first half turnovers. They did because the Celtics made four second quarter shots. Four. Boston shot 33 percent in first half. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined to shoot 2-of-10 in the first half.
The end of the game was just as ugly.
Luol Deng made a little five-footer that made it a three point game, 67-64, with 49 seconds left. The Celtics inbounded to Garnett but Doc Rivers called a timeout to talk about it. Apparently what he didn’t talk about was inbounding the ball — Brandon Bass got a five-second violation as nobody came to the ball. Bulls’ ball and Marco Belinelli made it a one point game with a quick drive to the basket for a lay-up, 67-66 Celtics.
Boston got the ball inbounds this this time and their play at the other end took forever to develop but eventually Bass drove the lane, Garnett moved to in his spot on the baseline, Joakim Noah had to help off KG to take away the drive, and one kick out pass later it was 69-66 Celtics with 19.8 seconds left.
Nate Robinson missed a three, but Carlos Boozer tipped it in and we had a one-point game again. The Bulls fouled Pierce on the inbounds and he went to the other end and sank both free throws, so it was 71-68.
Nate Robinson brought the ball up and at mid-court drove right into Avery Bradley and drew the foul. Two foul shots, six seconds left.
Robinson hits the first. He misses the second and the resulting carom leads to a scramble for the ball with Jeff Green, Robinson, Deng and half the building trying to grab the ball.
It squirts free to Belinelli who goes up for a game-tying two at the top of the key but gets blocked by a hustling Terry coming from behind, the ball bounces to Boozer who misses a 28-foot three and that’s the ballgame.
None of it was pretty. Boston doesn’t really care, they like the W.