Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bulls 109 - Celtics 104 (OT): Gasol, Bulls beat Celtics in OT

Photo: Associated Press

Pau Gasol's 29 points and 16 rebounds spoiled Evan Turner's huge homecoming outing, and led the Bulls to a 109-104 overtime victory.

Turner's 23 second half points is what kept the game close for the Celtics. The Chicago native collected 29 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. It was one of Turner's best games of the season. But unfortunately the Bulls closed the door on the Celtics in overtime, outscoring the C's, 10-5 in the extra period.

Avery Bradley brought his hot shooting hand from Friday's game versus Dallas to Chicago, he went 8-for-15, for 17 points. And Jared Sullinger had a big night, he pulled down 16 rebounds and scored 16 points. Sullinger's biggest rebound and shot of the night came at the end of regulation, when he grabbed Jeff Green's missed shot and hit a put back layup that sent the game into overtime.

In overtime, Gasol continued to punish the Celtics down low. He scored four points in the extra time, got to the free throw line, while forcing Tyler Zeller to commit his sixth foul. And Derrick Rose had a tough shooting night (5-18), but scored a big layup over Bradley late in overtime and made it a two-possession game.

Photo: Matt Marton (USA TODAY)
Out of a timeout, down by 4, Turner made a crosscourt pass from the sideline that went over Jeff Green's head and out of bounce. It was Turner's seventh turnover of the night.

The Celtics only scored five points in overtime and with eight seconds left, threw away their last chance to stay alive.

Didn't understand why coach Stevens called such a complicated play. I get that he wanted a quick three pointer, but a tough pass like that against a very good defensive team in the Bulls, isn't the easiest play to execute.

Especially when your inbound passer isn't Gerald Wallace.

Celtics had chances in the fourth quarter to run away with their lead, but committed too many fouls. The Bulls shot 40 free throws, and made 29 of them. Meanwhile, the Celtics, the league's fewest free throw shooting team, attempted only 11 free throws.

Sullinger expressed his frustration over the lack of fouls called on Chicago.
"They shot 29 more free throws than us," Sullinger said. "I thought we were attacking the rim just as hard as they were, and we didn't get the benefit of the call."
Green and Sullinger should gotten to the line a few times in the fourth quarter but the Celtics were guilty of committing stupid fouls on the other end. Celtics big men drew more than a few terrible fouls on Pau Gasol and Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic.

Gasol and Mirotic combined for 18 free throws attempts, seven more than the Celtics shot as a team.
"They [Bulls] did a great job getting to the line," coach Stevens said. "I thought it was a well-called game. We just fouled them too much."
Both teams committed a lot of turnovers throughout the game, the Bulls committed 18, but the Celtics made the worst kind of turnovers you can make: late-game turnovers. Celtics turned the ball over four times in the extra five minutes, 22 total.

The Celtics return home on Monday night to take on the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden.

Game Notes:

Celtics gave the Bulls too many second and third chance opportunities. Chicago grabbed 24 offensive rebounds, granted the Bulls are a great rebounding team (third best), but the C's have to do a better job at boxing out... Turner did a great job scoring the basketball but his seven turnovers hurt the Celtics. It would have been his best game this season if he took better care of the ball. His November 8 outing at Chicago is still, in my opinion, his best game of the season (19 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 turnovers)... Bradley has been shooting the ball well, so far in 2015, he's shooting 48 percent, averaging 19.5 points.

Josue Pavon
Twitter: @Joe_Sway10

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