Board beating makes Bulls seethe
DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) -The Chicago Bulls got a star performance from Derrick Rose and a career night from Ben Gordon in Boston.
The only thing they didn't get was a sweep.
Instead, they're tied 1-1 after the Celtics took Game 2 of the first-round playoff series 118-115 behind Ray Allen's 30 points and tiebreaking 3-pointer.
"Did you have to bring that up?'' coach Vinny Del Negro said Tuesday.
Two road wins would have been a neat trick, but while Allen made sure that didn't happen, the seventh-seeded Bulls found something else more disturbing - the beating they took on the boards during Monday's game.
A 50-36 rebounding edge and 32-12 disparity in second-chance points left them seething, bemoaning a lost opportunity. They're deadlocked with the Celtics heading into Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday when they could be halfway to the second round.
Already without the injured Kevin Garnett, Boston lost Leon Powe to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus in his left knee and has a hobbled point guard in Rajon Rondo. Clearly, the Celtics are not the same, and the Bulls are taking advantage - sort of.
"To come in there and split on their homecourt is pretty good,'' guard Ben Gordon said. "To go 2-0 there would have been amazing.''
Gordon scored a playoff career-high 42 points in a classic shootout with fellow UConn alum Allen, but that was one of only a few bright spots for the Bulls. Rose got into early foul trouble and scored just 10 after tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's rookie record for a playoff debut with 36 points in the opener.
But what really grated on the Bulls was the beating on the glass, particularly a 21-8 edge in offensive rebounds for Boston that led to the big difference in second-chance points.
"That was the difference in the game right there,'' Joakim Noah said.
It was a big contrast from the opener, when Chicago outrebounded Boston by eight in a 105-103 overtime win behind a 17-rebound effort by Noah that kept Kendrick Perkins awake for a couple of nights.
But presumably, Perkins got some shuteye after Game 2.
After all, Noah grabbed just eight and no Bulls player hit double digits. Meanwhile, the Celtics got 12 each from Perkins and Rondo, who also had 19 points and 16 assists despite spraining his right ankle.
"You just got to keep a body on them,'' Perkins said. "They're athletic, but I think we got the size for us, the strength down low. I think we just got to be more physical, you know, hit them before they jump.''
Boxing out is a basic basketball principle. The Celtics did, the Bulls didn't and this was the result.
"A lot of times, the shot went up and we just kind of stood around,'' Gordon said.
That's one reason Del Negro said: "We didn't deserve to win, really.''
And yet, they were in position to do just that.
They had a five-point lead after Gordon's 3-pointer with 3:13 to go, but they also had no timeouts remaining when Allen hit the go-ahead 3 with two seconds left and no way to get their leading scorer back in for one final attempt. Gordon had just tied it moments earlier after the Bulls used their final timeout, but he was on the bench after a defensive substitution when the Celtics grabbed the lead.
Tyrus Thomas launched a three-quarters-court heave at the buzzer, leaving Del Negro open to second guessing about his use of timeouts.
"So what? I don't care,'' he said. "I'm the coach. I make the decisions. That's the way it is.''
For Gordon, that final play "was tough to watch.'' For Del Negro, the lack of a timeout wasn't a big issue.
"You always want to try to keep your timeouts, but you always want to try to keep yourself in the game,'' Del Negro said. "There's no need to save your timeouts if you're down 15 points, or 10 or 12. At certain times when they're making runs like that, and we get the ball back with 20 seconds to go in the game and we're down two, I want to make sure we get a good shot and have an opportunity to tie. ... Sometimes, you can keep them. And sometimes, you have to use them to stay in the game.''
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