My one complaint: the coaching "match-up." This is like watching John Wooden coach against the guy who hosts 'What Not to Wear.' The Celtics had an inbounds play late in the game and ran a double screen going away from the ball that freed up Allen for an open three (after Rondo threw a pretty inbounds pass the width of the court). We had an inbounds play that had two guys standing still in the backcourt, almost got a 5-seconds call and ended with Kirk forcing in a hand-off to Salmons who (luckily) got fouled.
Doc Rivers is making VdN look even worse than he has all season, and it's legitimately embarrassing. The Bulls are staying close (and winning) these games desite their coach, which is even more of a credit to the rookie PG leading the way.
Reaction from HoopsWorld -
Holy wowzers, what a game! Plenty of big shots and big drama, and now we've got a brand new series heading out to Boston for Game 5.
If you take Game 3 out of the equation, this series has been arguably the most competitive in the entire 2009 NBA Playoffs, and as if either team needed any more reason to make things more competitive, Boston's Glen Davis and Chicago's Brad Miller involved themselves in a little scuffle early in the fourth quarter that really jumpstarted this Windy City crowd. Unlike Thursday night, the paying customers got their money's worth this afternoon.
The rumble looked pretty serious at first, but after several replays what originally looked like a Brad Miller punch to Big Baby's face ended up just being a push with the forearm and an incredible acting job by Davis. He seriously grimaced like he'd just been shot. Watch in slow-motion on tonight's replays. You'll get a good giggle out of it.
Ray Allen nailed another heart-breaking three towards the end of regulation to send this game into overtime, and then Ben Gordon countered with a three of his own at the end of the first overtime. The Bulls won, and their elated locker room afterwards showed how happy they were about that. But Boston took this loss very hard, especially Ray Allen, who took an extremely long time showering and dressing before giving his post-game interview. In it, his responses were very short and his face was stoic. He's not happy, nor is Paul Pierce, meaning Game 5 should be a doozy.
That's it for me this afternoon (though it's almost evening at this point), but I'll be back here for Game 6 on Thursday night. Until then, enjoy the Playoffs. I certainly did today.
BlogaBull didn't watch live -
I actually knew the result of this game (and some of the key plays) before sitting down to watch it. If I hadn't know the Bulls had won, I likely would've been way too intense over missed FTs and poor defense in clutch situations. Or too pumped after some unbelievable shots by the Bulls guards (with Derrick Rose being simply amazing in the 4th quarter). But forget the calm, I wish I could've seen it live, as despite some more sloppy play, it was another classic from these two teams.
My almost-had-7-heart-attacks-during-the-4th-and-OTs is a bit jealous.
As a heads up, Tuesday is another early (6pm) start in Boston. Butch Maguire's anyone?
Another reaction -
When the last elbow had landed and the last floor burn had cooled, the Bulls somehow escaped with a 121-118 double overtime victory, knotting these Eastern Conference quarterfinals at 2-2 with Game 5 on Tuesday night in Boston.
The Bulls overcame costly missed free throws and turnovers and a five-point deficit with 2 minutes left in the first overtime to win with heart and hustle, qualities that defined Van Lier.
A ridiculous three-pointer by Ben Gordon that forced the second overtime didn't hurt either, which is why Gordon answered quickly when asked where this game ranked in his five-year career.
"This is No. 1, easy," Gordon said. "This is the biggest game of our careers. This says we never give up. We have a lot of fight on our side."
A lot of heroes, too.
Gordon played through a strained left hamstring to score 22 points, including his three-pointer over Paul Pierce with 4.5 seconds left in the first overtime and a 17-foot jumper on the first possession of the second as the Bulls never trailed in the final five minutes.
Derrick Rose flirted with a quadruple double, tallying 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and, ahem, seven turnovers in another classic battle with Rajon Rondo, who did have a triple double.
Great observations (click and read the full article) -
They missed free throws in game-tying and game-winning situations. They committed some head-scratching defensive lapses. Their Rookie of the Year ace ballhandler turned the ball over seven times.
And somehow the Bulls survived, beating the Boston Celtics 121-118 Sunday in a wildly entertaining matinee playoff game that required two overtimes before it was settled, much to the delight of 23,067 thoroughly drained fans at the United Center.
Some observations on a madcap first-round series that's in a surprising 2-2 deadlock headed to Boston for Game 5 on Tuesday:
On point: The battle of young point guards remains the series' most intriguing sub-plot.
This is troubling (but BG's comment is funny) -
Bulls guard Ben Gordon needed an anti-inflammatory shot at halftime Sunday to make it through the pain of a strained left hamstring. He will undergo an MRI exam today, which will help determine if he can play in Game 5 on Tuesday in Boston. "I was driving and I heard something pop," said Gordon, who incurred the injury while shooting in the second quarter. "It's sore; hopefully itï's not too serious. I'm going to do what I need to do [to play]." Gordon rode a stationary bike near the Bulls' bench during the third quarter to keep the hamstring loose. "It started affecting me right away," he said. "I couldn't do some of the things I wanted to do. But a game like that, you've got to play through it."
Gordon's celebratory gesture after drilling the tying three-pointer at the end of the first overtime likely will draw a fine from the league. "If Mr. [David] Stern asks, it was my groin [bothering him]," Gordon joked.
Just another reaction -
Ben Gordon was joking when he said he couldn't remember how the play developed that led to his tying three-pointer at the end of the first overtime Sunday.
But the 23,067 screaming fans at the United Center won't soon forget the Bulls' 121-118 double-overtime victory -- with its 28 lead changes and 12 ties and countless big plays -- that evened the best-of-seven first-round series, which heads back to Boston for Game 5 on Tuesday.
''We were so close to death so many times,'' Bulls center Joakim Noah said. ''BG hit that huge shot. It just gave us so much energy and so much belief we could do it.''