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Friday, May 1, 2009

Triple OT? Sure. Game 7? Why not?

Before Game 6 had even tipped off last night of the Chicago Bulls vs. the Boston Celtics, many were already saying that this was the best first round playoff series of all-time. All the teams proceeded to do was go to triple overtime at the United Center in the best game of a now epic series.

Chicago won 128-127 and forced a Game 7, winner take-all bloodbath tomorrow night in Boston (where the green beer will be flowing like St. Patrick's Day).

The Bulls as per usual for the last few weeks, refused to go down as they erased a eight-point deficit late in regulation. Boston stubbornly hung around too as Ray Allen (career playoff-high 51 points) went crazy, tying it in the second OT on a ridiculous 3-pointer but not enough of his teammates stayed in the game (three fouled out).

Did anyone outside of Philadelphia, his entourage (I'm assuming he has one) and family know that John Salmons had this much game? He played a game-high 60 (out of 63) possible minutes and scored a team-high 35 points with six boards and four assists. Derrick Rose was also great with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

The biggest individual surprise of the six games has been Brad Miller. The washed up center notched 23 points and 10 rebounds last night. Ben Gordon was held to 12 points before fouling out, Kirk Hinrich added 11 points and seven assists while Joakim Noah went for nine points and 15 rebounds.

Noah also had the play of the game that will be replayed for all eternity (provided the Bulls win tomorrow night). He stole the ball from Paul Pierce at midcourt in the second overtime, dribbled in and threw down a vicious dunk while being fouled. His free throw put Chicago up by three and Pierce was done with his sixth foul. It pains me to admit it but Noah is a very solid NBA player.

The trio that fouled out all played well for the C's: Glen Davis scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Pierce notched 22 points and nine boards. Kendrick Perkins had another double-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.

Rajon Rondo had a terrible scoring night (8 points), but he tied Bob Cousy's team playoff record of 19 assists and threw in nine rebounds.

When Brian Scalabrine (7 points) is your most effective bench player in a playoff game, you're completely fucked. Once again, Chicago's bench outscored Boston by a huge margin: 35-11.

The Celts have a better starting five but if any of them are ineffective or in foul trouble, the Bulls depth really starts to show up as they can make up for bad nights from their stars (Rose, Gordon).

Chicago jumped out to a 37-26 lead after the first quarter but the Celts cut it to two (59-57) at the half. The Bulls took the third quarter (24-19) but the C's did what they had to do in the fourth (25-18).

For the game, Chicago shot 49.5% to Boston's 43.4%. The Celts made two more threes (11-9) and three more free throws (24-21).

At this point, what can you possibly expect in Game 7? All signs point to another classic game in a once-in-a-lifetime series. Hopefully the home-court advantage of the Garden will be just enough for Boston to come out on top.

Orlando beat Philadelphia last night to advance to the second round where they'll face the winner of this series.

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