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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Derrick Rose's pube moustache will kill us all

When the news came out on Thursday that Kevin Garnett would most likely be out for the playoffs, Celtics fans were understandably bummed. Boston delivered a title last season so we can't feel shortchanged but going into the postseason at less than full strength (in this case, much less) isn't any fun.

Still, who could have imagined the Chicago Bulls would come into the Garden yesterday for game one and beat the C's, 105-103 in overtime?

I think most assumed the Celts would get by the Bulls and possibly the Magic before ultimately falling to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, a noble feat. This was only one game but yikes. We could bow out in one round as the baby Bulls bear a striking resemblance to the Atlanta Hawks of last spring's playoffs (the one that pushed the Celtics to seven games).

Rookie point guard Derrick Rose was the story of the game as the 20-year old dropped a career-high 36 points, 11 assists and four rebounds before fouling out late in OT. Take nothing away from the kid (who has serious game) but as my friend said last night, it was a layup line for him virtually all day.

Garnett's defensive presence and energy were sorely missed as Boston struggled to find itself. Rajon Rondo (29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) did everything he could and Paul Pierce added 23 points and seven rebounds. Scoring wasn't the problem for most of the C's as Glen Davis tossed in 18 points and Kendrick Perkins notched 14 points and eight rebounds. The most troubling thing for Boston besides the lack of D was the disappearance of the artist formerly known as Ray Allen.

After being non-existent in the first two rounds last spring, Allen found his stroke vs. the Pistons and Lakers, en route to the title. He had a better regular season this year so his struggles last year seemed to be a distant memory. Not yesterday. Allen was 1-of-12 from the floor and he finished with four points.

Even though they were outplayed most of the game, Boston had a chance to win at the end of regulation; Pierce tied it with a free throw but missed the second that would have put them up by one. Later, Allen got the last shot in OT that would have tied it. A good look no doubt, but did anyone in the building (other than Doc and maybe Ray) think Allen's jumper was going in? Didn't think so.

Ben Gordon looked like a younger, more potent Ray Allen as he hit some big shots, on his way to 20 points. Tyrus Thomas, who suddenly has a decent jumper, added 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks while clown-prince Joakim Noah had a double-double (11 points, 17 rebounds) and three blocks. Finally, John Salmons scored 12 points.

Both teams scored 28 points in the first quarter and Chicago outscored Boston 25-16 in the second quarter. A good sign for Boston is that they erased the deficit almost immediately in the third (28-18). The Bulls had a slight advantage in the fourth (26-25) and OT (8-6).

Did I mention Chicago earned this W? Look at the numbers: Chicago shot 42.7% to Boston's 39.4%. The Bulls grabbed eight more boards (53-45) and handed out four more assists (20-16).

Tomorrow night is basically a must-win for the C's. Chicago has already taken away the home-court advantage so needless to say, they can't go to the Chi down 0-2.

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