BOSTON, MA- The Boston Celtics were down and out. Or, that’s what everybody thought after the first two games in their first round playoff matchup against the Chicago Bulls. But since then, the Celtics have won three straight games to now lead the series against the Bulls 3-2. The Bulls have lost point guard, and former Celtic, Rajon Rondo to a broken thumb, and has been officially ruled out for game 6. The Celtics have been lead by star point guard Isaiah Thomas, who has put up two 33 point games against the Bulls this series.
The number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference were considered done after the first two games, and rightfully so. The stellar backcourt of Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler were destroying the Celtics with their mentality of shooting from mid range. The Celtics had not had an answer for this until Rondo went down with an injury, and looks as if he is unlikely to play in this series if it goes to a game 7. The Celtics will want to close this series out in game 6, before Rondo has a chance to come back and play in game 7. It is not irony that the Celtics have started winning since Rondo went down. They struggled with the style of play that he brings, the pass first point guard, rather than a score first mentality that the NBA has been moving towards. Signing veteran Dwyane Wade has proven that he still has life, and Jimmy Butler is a blossoming super star. The Celtics are gonna need to rely on their strengths, which is dominant guard play by Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. Jae Crowder is another guy that is gonna need to step up his game if the Celtics are going to make a run for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA Championship, and of course they will need to start grabbing rebounds, which they have struggled with all year. The Celtics are gonna need to continue their hot streak to beat the Bulls in game 6.
If the Celtics move on, they will face the winner of the series between the 4 seed Washington Wizards and 5 seed Atlanta Hawks. They would be better matched up against the Wizards, because if they cannot out rebound Robin Lopez, how are they going to out rebound Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard of the Atlanta Hawks? It is not a good matchup for the Celtics, they would be better matched up against the Wizards, who like the C’s, are very guard heavy and are weak on the interior. I think the Celtics are better than the Wizards, but this would be a good series to watch, and be better for the Celtics.
The Celtics play the Chicago Bulls on Friday in Chicago, with a tip off time of 8 p.m. The Celtics are favored by just 1.5 points.