In desperate need of better play from Avery Bradley, the Celtics got it in the first half.
Rajon Rondo has probably been the biggest reason for the surprise success of the Chicago Bulls in their two-game series lead against the Boston Celtics, the top seeds in the Eastern Conference. A 2-0 lead sounds awesome, but go up 3-0 and they finish the Boston Celtics. The Bulls controlled the tempo from the outset and kept the Celtics at arm's length for most of the night in a 111-97 victory. That put Chicago back in the postseason, after missing out a year ago for the first time since 2008. We just had to play.
The Suns rallied to win the next three games to win the series 3-2.More news: Jazz's Rudy Gobert out Game 2, but making progress
The pressure may be mounting for Boston, but they aren't going to show it.
Golden State went 2-3 in their first five games without Durant, but they have since won 14 straight with the forward on the bench. "We can't panic. We've been here before".
The Celtics have been here before, down 2-0 to the Atlanta Hawks 366 days ago.
No #8 seed has never swept a #1 seed. And they did as they've done time after time this season. The unfortunate news is that he will miss at least the rest of the Bulls vs. Celtics series.More news: Boston Red Sox: Chris Young Proving His Worth in Jackie Bradley's Absence
He is expected to play on Friday.
Thomas goes on to thank friends, family, his fans, the Boston Celtics organization, the City of Boston and the National Basketball Association community for their continued support during this hard time.
Surgery will not be required to fix the injury, but no timetable for his return was given. The absence of Rajon Rondo was critical for the Bulls with fewer assists and ball movement that inhibited the Bulls offense that had the Bulls average 102.9 for the first two games of the series in Boston. "We felt like with the switching we'd really throw a curveball at him". The Bulls will need to adjust their approach quite a bit, and that is exactly why the Celtics need to pounce on them. The Hornets came into the playoffs as a 48-win team, only two less than the Miami Heat. While Durant has a calf strain that isn't considered to be serious, his health might be the deciding factor in regards to which team wins the championship. That will feed into Bradley's hope that Boston will be a relaxed bunch on Friday night.
"When you're relaxed, you're not thinking the game as much", Bradley said.More news: Afghanistan: Taliban Fighters Attack Major Military Base
As the Celtics went through an off-day workout Thursday at the United Center, Ainge fondly recalled how coach Paul Westphal walked into the Suns' locker room and, at a loss for how to get his team to relax after falling behind in the series, simply asked if anyone had some jokes to tell. Butler, who only had two points heading into the last two minutes of the third, suddenly erupted with three baskets over that stretch, off-set by a Smart 3-pointer and a Kelly Olynyk drive - the latter for a 76-63 Celtics lead. Pregame coverage begins at 6:30pm!
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