There has been a lot of talking about the Chicago Bulls and if they will traded there All-Star Guard/Forward Jimmy Butler. There are a few teams who’s names have come up in a deal involving Butler, but the one that has come up the most is the Boston Celtics. Thursday night these two teams met at the United Center in Chicago and Butler was a huge part of the finish to the game. The Bulls found themselves down 103-102 with the clock running down and the basketball in Butler’s hands. As Butler went for the game winning shot with just .4 seconds left in the game the whistle blew and a foul was called on Marcus Smart of the Celtics as Butler was shooting. Even on replay it’s tough to see the foul and it’s been called “ticky-tack”, but the referees made the call and Butler calmly stepped to the free throw line made both free throws and after a last second shot by the Celtics failed the Bulls walked away with a 104-103 victory.
The Celtics started off the game on a 15 to 7 run to take there biggest lead of the 1st quarter. The Bulls where able to cut the lead down, but each times Boston was able to push it back to 8 points. Gerald Green hit a 3-pointer with 3:38 left to give the Celtics that 8 point lead for the final time in the quarter at 25-18. Chicago was able to score the final 4 points of the quarter to cut the lead to 25-22 at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Bulls started off the 2nd quarter by scoring the first 5 points to take the lead at 27-25. The teams traded the lead six times before the Celtics went on a 15 to 4 run to take a double digit lead at 45-35. The Bulls spent the rest of the quarter trying to cut into the lea and with just :33 seconds left they had the Celtics lead down to 3 at 55-52. Isaiah Thomas then hit a 3-pointer with :28 seconds left to give Boston a 6 point lead 58-52 heading into halftime.
Chicago started the 3rd quarter on a 15 to 7 run to take the lead at 67-65 on a Jerian Grant 3-pointer with 7:35 left in the quarter. The Bulls took there biggest lead of the quarter at 75-68 on a Robin Lopez tip in with 4:30 left in the quarter. Boston finished the quarter on a 10 to 6 run to cut the Bulls lead to 3 points 81-78 after three quarters.
The Bulls held the lead until Terry Rozier hit a 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the game to tie things up at 92 all. The game was tied three more times before the Bulls took the lead at 98-97 after Taj Gibson made two free throws with 2:54 left in the game. The Celtics went right back to the lead, but could never get any farther ahead than 3 points. After Doug McDermott hit two free throws with 1:20 left in the game the Bulls where down just 1 point at 103-102. On the defensive end Jimmy Butler blocked an Isaiah Thomas shot to give the Bulls the basketball back and a chance to win. Butler and the Jerian Grant missed 3-pointers to give the Bulls the lead. After each team used a timeout Isaiah Thomas missed a jump shot and Michael Carter-Williams got the rebound to set up the game ending scenario for Jimmy Butler. Butler missed the shot as time was expiring, but Marcus smart was called for the foul while Butler was in the act of shooting. Butler proceeded to hit both of his free throws to give the Bulls a 104-103 win.
Jimmy Butler was the Bulls leading scorer with 29 points while Bobby Portis came off the Bulls bench to score 19 points. Robin Lopez had 15 points wile Taj Gibson scored 12 points and grabbed a game high 9 rebounds. Doug McDermott also came off the Bulls bench to hit double figures with 11 points while Jerian grant added 10 points. Rajon Rondo didn’t score in the game, ubt he did hand out a game high 8 assists.
Isaiah Thomas was the Celtics leading scorer with 29 points and a team high 7 assists. Off the Celtics bench Kelly Olynck scored 17 points and grabbed a team high 7 rebounds while Terry Rozier scored 11 points. Amir Johnson had 10 points for Boston.
With the win the Bulls will head into the All-Star break with a record of 28-29 which is good for 7th place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics fall to 37-20 with the loss, but are still in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and find themselves just 3 games out of the top spot. The Bulls return to action on February 24th when they host the 18-39 Phoenix Suns. The Celtics are also off until February 24th, but they’ll be on the road against the 33-24 Toronto Raptors.