Jimmy Butler had 30 points and nine rebounds and the Chicago Bulls outlasted Boston 106-102 in Game 1 on Sunday on an emotional night for grieving Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas' 22-year-old sister, Chynna, died around 5:00 a.m. Saturday when her 1998 Toyota Camry veered off an Interstate in Federal Way, Wash. and crashed into a barrier. "I'm not quite sure who's in his life", James said. "They were just able to finish, but over the course of 48 you just try to wear them down". But we executed extremely well.
We've made a lot of money fading the Celtics this season due to lines being too high, and that continued in game one. The Celtics got punched in the jaw Sunday night, so how will they respond?
The Bulls, seeded eighth in the East, outrebounded top-seeded Boston 53-36. He is a great defender (unlike Thomas) but he isn't at the same playmaking level that Thomas is at. "I'm going to be there for him no matter what".
Rondo said they wanted to be aggressive.
"He's trying his best to compartmentalize when he's here to work on what he needs to work on, but I'm sure that's hard", Stevens said.
Al Horford had 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Boston.
Most expect Thomas to stay with the team, barring any sudden changes.
KEVIN DURANT PROVED his worth as the Golden State Warriors made a winning start in the National Basketball Association playoffs, while the Boston Celtics were upstaged by the Chicago Bulls. Thomas led the team out of the tunnel for pregame warmups.
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When Thomas hit his first points of the game, a 3-pointer, the TD Garden crowd cheered loudly with an ovation.
McCollum scored a playoff career-best 41 points and Lillard had 34 but the Warriors made the crucial big plays on both ends down the stretch with Portland playing without injured center Jusuf Nurkic.
The Celtics have relied so heavily on Thomas's scoring ability over the entire season that they are lost without him.
Coach Brad Stevens said Thomas was "struggling" prior to the game, and it showed early as he uncharacteristically missed his first free throw attempt short off the front rim. Rebounding and turnovers can be fixed, but the Celtics have something that the Bulls, or anyone else in the National Basketball Association don't.
The Bulls also had their moments of fallibility.
Thomas did not speak with the media after Sunday's game or at Monday's film session and walkthrough. "This was hard. I felt like we really dealt with it the right way, but Isaiah's the one I felt dealt with it best". We knew he was hurting, and it's not easy, and we have a lot of respect for him.
Still, this was only one game and if the Celtics take care of business in game two then the conversation will shift back to a more neutral place. As the Celtics' home-court games slowly diminish, their future in the playoffs is uncertain. Were 18 for 45 from the field in the first half.
Thomas would then get a layup with seven seconds left to cut the Bulls lead to two, 104-102.
Thomas has leaned heavily on teammate Avery Bradley, a fellow Tacoma native, in recent days. He looked toward the Garden rafters just before tip-off and wrote several messages to his sister on his sneakers.