By: Cristofer Zillo
Sunday at the Garden was extremely sad, and we all know why. The moment of silence before tip-off gave me chills. No one was sure how I.T. would perform, and I had my doubts regarding whether he should even play when I saw him crying on the bench hours before the game. However, I.T. knew he had Boston behind him, and I think he took some of the energy from the Garden, especially when he was announced in the starting line-up.
The cheers were deafening, and chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP” began early. I.T. did more than we expected him to, leading the team, and the game, with 33 points. It was weird to see him play with some extra flair, throwing behind the back and through the legs passes. He was definitely playing with some different kind of energy. He got to the line with some spectacular drives to the basket, as he usually does, and made most of them down there. He put on a show for us and for Chyna.
Now let’s get into the ugly. Besides Al Horford’s 19 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds--and a killer ankle-breaker--the team underperformed big time. Basically, everything that we critiqued about the team during the season showed in last night's game. Primarily, they really could not rebound. During the beginning of the game I was hyped to see them fight for offensive boards. Later in the game it seemed like they gave up, expecting someone else on the team to grab the defensive board. To all the big men on the Celtics, DO YOUR DAMN JOB. You are big for a reason, go up and fight for the ball. You need the ball to score. That’s how basketball works. And to Amir Johnson, please retire immediately. I cringe every time someone passes you the ball because I am not entirely sure you will catch it. If you do catch it and don’t go up for a dunk, I know you’re going to miss the layup. Okay, enough with Amir. Part of the reason why we lost the lead in the first half is because all our big guys do is shoot jump shots, and they were off last night. All of their shots seemed to hit the front of the rim and fly directly into the hands of a Bulls player.
Don’t worry, there’s more ugly where that came from. How can you let Bobby Portis, a man who averages 6 points a game, score 19. All of his shots were big time shots since the game was so close. That’s terrible. He comes and drops 19 off the bench, and our best bench performance was Marcus Smart’s 9 points. He, like usual, loves to miss wide open 3’s, and he continues to take them even when he knows he’s going to miss them, especially in the 4th quarter. Gotta love that, Boston. Marcus, you’re an animal, drive the ball please. Drive and kick to someone who can actually shoot. Thanks.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the Bulls are a good team. They have 3 amazing players: Playoffs Rondo, Dwyane Wade--who embarrassingly showed off his old knees by missing a wide-open dunk, and Jimmy Butler. Basically, we underperformed and kept the game close, allowing Jimmy Buckets to prove that he’s a legit star in this league. Hitting pullup 3’s down the stretch, he kept the game out of the Celtics hands and walked away with the W. This cannot happen in Game 2. The rest of the players on the Bulls are straight scrubs. Cristiano Felício? Come on. And even the poor man’s Brook Lopez--Robin Lopez-- had a game, but he’s trash. Listen, I respect the Bulls, but we’re way better than this. The Celtics need to come out and build a huge lead early so that, when we start giving up runs, we have a cushion to fall back on.
Come on boys, let’s do it #4Her.