For the first time all series the home team was victorious as the Boston Celtics defeated the Chicago Bulls 108-97 Wednesday evening an a pivotal game No. 5.
After falling behind 0-2 in this first-round playoff contest, the Celtics have won three straight after a trio of dominant performances. Now up 3-2, they’ve placed the Bulls on the brink of elimination.
Boston put TD Garden into an early panic as their shooting struggles allowed Chicago to keep the contest close. Boston shot just 43 percent from the field overall but just 23 percent from deep in a game where they attempted 40 3-pointers.
Most notable were the shooting struggles of Isaiah Thomas, who finished with 24 points, but also shot 1-10 from beyond the arc. Typically, if Thomas struggles Boston loses its way, but not this time. Avery Bradley was able to chip in a career playoff high 24 points, Al Horford aggressively poured in 21 and Kelly Olynyk contributed 14 off the bench.
It was truly a welcome sight for Boston fans to see the Celtics playmakers carry Thomas through an off shooting night. Or a scary one if you root for the Bulls.
When the fourth quarter rolled around, it was still IT time as Thomas scored 11 of Boston’s 29 points in the final frame. The Celtics used a late 14-6 run to put an early end to the game. By 1:30 to go in the fourth, Chicago waved the white flag by emptying its bench.
Now only one question remains: can the Boston Celtics continue their run and close out the veteran-led Bulls? It isn’t easy to beat a team four times in a row, especially one that has beaten you twice at home. If the Celtics continue to struggle shooting in game No. 6, the Bulls may get just enough confidence to force a game No. 7.
These two will meet again Friday at 8 p.m. in Chicago.