Celtics/Bulls Game 5 Recap
Losing in overtime is like a smack in the mouth.
Brad Miller was sailing in for the game-tying layup when a hard slap across the face hit him like a hard slap across the face. The ball sailed wide left, Miller sank to his knees, the clock struck zero. Rajon Rondo was just making a play on the ball, or so he said afterwards, but if he was, he missed it by a good three feet. The foul, a garden-variety (or is that Garden-variety?) one, was called, two seconds were put back on the clock, and Miller stood on the sidelines, a towel in his mouth, trying to collect his thoughts, regain his composure, count his teeth. Cheek swole, he stepped to the line for his first free-throw attempt of the night—and missed. Ballgame.
Hindsight is 20/20, of course—maybe even stronger—and one can only wonder what would have happened had Vinny Del Negro decided that Miller couldn’t go on. Miller would have been done for the night, but as it turned out, that wouldn’t have made much difference. And Doc Rivers could have chosen anyone to take Miller’s free throws. Perhaps Joakim Noah (although he had hit three of four up to that point) or Linton Johnson, who had yet to play.
But what happened, happened. The Celtics won Game Five in this slugfest of a series, regaining home court advantage. It’s perhaps worth noting that, in their long history, the Celtics have been locked at 2-2 in seven game series’s 34 times. Twenty-three times they’ve gone on to win Game Five, and each of those times they went on to win the series (numbers from the Elias Sports Bureau via the New York Times). Twenty-three. Hm. The Bulls have had some luck with that number before.
And this is far from your average 2/7 series. The absence of Kevin Garnett, who’s been reduced to a well-dressed, foul-mouthed, jut-jawed caricature on the bench, has drawn the teams closer, made it more like a 4/5. Throwing out the Celtics’s Game Three blowout win, the other four games have been decided by a total of 10 points.
And this one I actually watched.
Ben Gordon said it would take a “miracle” to play on his bad hamstring. He’s starting. It’ll be interesting watching him on defense, seeing that he doesn’t play any anyway.
Tyrus Thomas has a dunk in traffic, Kevin Harlan has a “sledgehammer,” and we’re rolling.
A microphone in the arena picks up “hey where’s the foul?” Quiet down, Kendrick.
Paul Pierce hits a triple on his third try and the Celtics are up three.
Joakim Noah uses his fake hustle to grab an offensive rebound off a missed free throw.
Tyrus Thomas gets a great pass inside, goes up for the dunk, gets rejected at the rim by Perkins, who isn’t called for a foul. Thomas follows with a goaltend on the other end, Pierce connects over Salmons, and the Celtics lead by six.
Ben Gordon with a three at the shot-clock buzzer. I guess he’s feeling OK enough. Noah hits over Big Baby in the lane, and it’s a one-point game.
Perkins is on pace for 40 rebounds. That’s nice.
Perkins spins past Tyrus Thomas like he was, I don’t know, Aaron Gray.
Ben Gordon, again. Five points. The Celtics turn it over, Rose misses. Oh-for-three. And Rondo runs it straight down the gut like nothing. Thomas comes back with a tough shot over Big Baby.
One of Doug Collins’s ‘Keys To The Game’ for the Celtics is not “Larry Bird and Kevin McHale walking through that door.”
Salmons with a great move on the baseline to drive past Pierce and kick to Kirk in the corner for a jumper. Wet. Celtics by two.
Brad Miller and Stephon Marbury, up in here.
If Gordon’s hurting, you can’t tell from watching him. Although the second he heads to the bench he’s getting stretched out like mad.
Scalabrine in early, Celtics up six, Bulls turnover. There’s not a single part of that sentence I like.
Tyrus Thomas follow off a deep jumper and the Bulls are back within two. Resilience.
Rondo misses a tough one, Rose can’t hit a 40-footer, and it’s 23-21 Celtics after 1.
“So Vinny, have you learned to count yet?”
Kirk ties it back up at 23, and the Bulls are on a 6-0 run.
Kendrick Perkins puts a stop to that. Then Tyrus Thomas misses everything off glass, Scalabrine is called for a foul, and Kendrick Perkins reacts like they double-T’ed his grandmother.
Marbury, for deep two. Front rim.
Bulls can’t convert, Scalabreezy hits a baseline jumper. Hinrich comes back down and hits a three off a cross-court pass from Brad Miller. He’s got 10, Bulls up one. Not for long. Marbury hits a three of his own, Celtics back up two. Looks like it’s gonna be that kind of game. Again.
Noah’s back. So is Ray Allen. Rondo’s chillaxin’.
Brian Scalabrine’s swag is phenomenal.
Derrick Rose slips in for the layup, bumps Baby and goes down afterwards. He’s on the floor and on the board. Knotted at 30 with 8:07 to go in the second.
Ray Allen misses a free throw. The sun fails to set in the West. Pigs fly.
He hits the second.
Noah’s back out. Derrick Rose runs over Baby and gets the late charge call. No one puts Baby in the paint.
Ray Allen hits a three. Celtics up four. DC: “You do not let Ray Allen get started.” Right. Just one question, though: How, exactly?
Salmons knots it back up at 34, Big Baby unknots it. And Kirk Hinrich’s 7 o’clock shadow turns it over.
You get the feeling that Rondo could play shortstop without a glove. Or palm a medicine ball.
The Bulls are shooting 11-31 and only down two.
Rose picks up his second foul with 5:37 to go in the second quarter. Rondo misses the first. He also misses the second, but there’s a lane violation on the Bulls. He misses the third, too. BALL DON’T LIE.
Rose off the loose ball, floater, Bulls back within two.
Kirk Hinrich, fading over Pierce, buckets. Twelve points in 13 minutes, tied at 38. And Salmons puts the Bulls ahead by two.
Ray Allen can’t convert, BG goes behind the back and pushes it up to Kirk, who gets goaltended. Bulls up four.
Perkisabeast. Back to two.
But Rose sneaks in for an offensive board. And Rondo hits on the other end. They’re more or less even, and so are their teams. 44-42, Bulls, 1:20 to go.
Noah. Bulls up four. Perkins can’t convert in deep, and Noah earns a trip to the line. Adventure! One of two. He’s also got nine boards.
Rajon Rondo with a brilliant turnaround at the halftime buzzer from the top of the key over Hinrich—47-44 Bulls at the half.
Rondo starts the second half with a triple over the outstretched arm of Tyrus Thomas. Tied back up—again—at 47.
Ray Allen fouls Ben Gordon on a three, which could get BG off the alleged schneid. Doug Collins agrees with me. We’re like THIS.
Gordon hits two of three free throws, and if the ball is telling the truth, his foot must have been on the line.
Big Baby on the leakout, AND 1. Adds it. Celtics up one.
John Salmons picks up a tech, but Ray Allen gets hit with his fourth foul. Advantage, Bulls.
Ben Gordon’s hamstring still looks fine. In fact, he’s moving really well. Who’s his doctor in Boston, Curt Schilling?
We’re tied up again.
No we’re not.
The Celtics are up two, and their fans are waking up.
Perkins gets ripped down low, but Rose can’t convert on the drive, and Gordon gets hit with a blocking call trying to draw an open-court charge on Tony Allen.
Derrick Rose, layup. 55 alive.
Rondo hits another three. He’s got 16. Thomas gets free on the baseline, and Rose slides in a nifty bounce pass for a two-handed dunk. Bulls back within one. Time out with 5:37 to go.
Captain Richard Phillips, he of Somali pirate rescue fame, is in the house. I want to see him box Captain Sully for charity.
Kevin Harlan helpfully points out that Vinny Del Negro has yet to put Kirk Hinrcih in in the third despite his being the Bulls’s best player in the first half. Maybe Kevin and Vinny can switch positions for the rest of the game. Series. Decade.
Salmons, three. Bulls up two, 60-58.
Pierce misses from deep, Thomas brings down the rebound, but he can’t convert on the other end. Down. Goes. Perkins. Hits one of two.
Vinny must have heard Harlan, because Kirk is back.
Tyrus Thomas, 4-4 from the line for the night, Bulls up three, three minutes to play in the third.
Baby again. And 1, again. He still has a lousy haircut.
Celtics go up two, and Ben Gordon hits a ridiculous moving three, Bulls back up one. Back and forth, back and forth. Kirk adds a three, Bulls up four. Under a minute in the third. Baby backs in Miller. Two. And Ben Gordon lets another three fly almost immediately. Um, no. Maybe his hamstring is connected to his brain. Kevin Harlan fails to mention that he has NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE!
Hinrich drive. Down hard. Hits floor. Split eyebrow. Already with 17. Taped up. Comes back. Hits both. Ricky Davis.
Baby gets the last shot of the quarter, puts it up after the buzzer, and misses anyway. Bulls up four, 70-66, heading into the fourth.
BG misfires on a three off a Salmons drive, and is making Al Harrington look conscientious.
Scalabrine is a) in to start the fourth, and b) has to launch a 22-foot two with the shot clock running out. Is Vinny Del Negro coaching both teams?
A Brad Miller three makes it 73-66, Bulls. It’s their biggest lead of the night.
Scalabrine tries to draw a charge on Ben Gordon. It doesn’t work. His headband, Skullabrine (seriously) protects his neck. And his head. Bulls up nine. Which feels like 30.
Pierce can’t hit the open three, Rondo can’t control the carom, and BG misses yet another Bad Idea Three. But the Bulls get it back, Noah scores inside off a nifty one-handed pass from Brad Miller, and the Bulls lead by 11 inside of 10. It’s the biggest deficit of the SERIES for the Celtics.
“Paul Pierce hasn’t attempted a free throw so they’ve turned him into a jump shooter.” Cue Pierce drive, Pierce and 1. THANKS, DOUG. Bulls up eight. Ray Allen and Baby are back.
Ray Allen picks up his fifth foul—away from the ball—with over nine minutes to play. Gordon follows with yet another Bad Idea Three, but Noah is right there to clean it up.
Big Baby is leading the Celtics in scoring.
Brad Miller WIDE open. Bulls back up ten. Under eight minutes.
Allen stumbles, calls time before Miller can tie him up. Still.
Bulls lead holding at 10. “A very mature play by Derrick Rose.”
Followed by an even more mature play by Rajon Rondo. Followed by a Rose turnover and a Rondo runout layup. Boston within six with six to go, and Rondo’s number is being prepped to go up in the rafters. Honestly, I’m amazed the Celtics had a single-digit number available to begin with.
Ray Allen, corner three? Of course. But he tangles with Brad Miller on a screen, there’s a double foul, and Allen is gone with 5:27 to go. Either a savvy or despicable play by Miller, depending what team you root for. I just hope Tommy Heinsohn survived.
Celtics within three, though, as Hinrich replaces Miller. Noah tears down a Pierce miss—his 16th board—and the clock keeps ticking.
Salmons drives into the teeth of the defense and gets chewed up; Rondo comes back the other way and makes it a one-point game—but a Salmons three stops the bleeding. Bulls by four with four to play.
Pierce stops the clock, hits a pair. Last vet standing.
Ben Gordon with a well-timed triple, 3:35 to go. Blown assignment by Tony Allen, who dropped off Gordon to cover Noah in the post.
Baby baby. One of two. Rose can’t convert on the drive down the middle, the Celtics turn it over, but Rose throws it away.
Baby with the bad miss, but Perkins is there to catch it and drop it in. Bulls by two with 2:42.
Bulls triple possession off HUGE offensive rebound. Inside two minutes. And Rose slashes in for the layup—Bulls by four. And Rondo comes right back. Any doubters left?
Bulls can’t get it done, Pierce driving layup, 91-91 with 1:08 to go. Time out, Bulls. At the wrong time. Of course.
Hinrich, Miller, Rose, Salmons, Gordon.
Marbury, Pierce, Rondo, Perkins, Tony Allen.
And the Scorpions.
Rose, on the drive, fouled by Rondo. Inbounds. Miller, to Rose. Rose goes down again, this time on his own, loses the ball out of bounds. He’s not happy. Celtics ball, 49.3 seconds.
Rondo airballs a floater, and Ben Gordon takes the most ridiculous shot ever—half-stepped around Marbury. He looks like he’s about to lose a game of Twister. Of course it goes in. Chicago up two, 16.6 left.
Paul Pierce? Yep. 93s with 10.5 seconds over Rose on the Christian Laettner turnaround.
Ben Gordon. Iso. Drive. Stepback. No. Overtime.
Perkins, hammered. Ray, yelling. One of two.
Rose rebounds the Salmons triple miss, Rose misses. Under four minutes.
Noah, hammered. Noah, both. Bulls back up one.
Beautiful pick and roll, Rondo to Perkins. Such a great pass.
Bulls can’t convert. Miss, rebound, blocked.
Rondo. 26 points. Boston up three, 2:34 to go.
Gordon drive, Tony Allen foul. He’s played 49 minutes. Gordon, that is.
Rondooooooooooooooooooo. Fouled. Hits both. Celtics back up three.
Ben Gordon hits another absurd, falling, half-blocked shot.
Rondo throws it away, Rose the length of the court, Bulls up 101-100, 1:26.
Pierce, middle of the floor, Salmons on him. Bang. 102-101, 1:15.
Gordon misses the three over two and a half guys, Celtics rebound, Paul Pierce, same play, same defender, same result. Bang. 104-101 Celtics with 36.5 seconds left.
BAILOUT. Tony Allen fouls BG on a three. 27.3 seconds.
Rondo, up high. Swap to Pierce. Another jumper from the same damn spot. 106-104, 3.4 seconds. Five straight shots. Hey Vinny, maybe don’t let him get the ball in the same spot with the same defender on him three times in a row? Just a thought.
A Celtics defensive lapse of epic proportions gives Brad Miller a clear lane to the basket off a pick, and Rondo pops him across the face as time expires. Down goes Miller.
Miller on the sideline, bleeding. Two seconds put back on the clock. Lip swole, teeth busted. First free throws of the night. And he misses the first. Agony. He misses the second on purpose, but doesn’t hit the rim. Turnover. Boston ball with two seconds to go.
The Celtics inbound in the front court to Pierce, who’s fouled with 1.3 to go. He misses the first accidentally, the second on purpose. Properly. Big Baby grabs the rebound, and that’s the ballgame.
Final score, Boston 106, Chicago 104.
Ben Gordon went 51 minutes, took 21 shots. Rajon Rondo maintained his triple-double average for the series. Paul Pierce added to his legacy. Kevin Garnett barked at people.
Leave the parquet down, because this one’s going seven.