Bradley, Celtics blast Bulls, advance to second round
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[April 29, 2017]
CHICAGO -- As they began to pull
away and inch closer to advancing in the Eastern Conference
playoffs, the Boston Celtics began to quietly celebrate Friday
And yet, despite playing with a comfortable lead, the realized they
couldn't coast and inevitable as the final result seemed, the
Celtics realized they couldn't allow the Chicago Bulls any hope of
extending their season.
As slow as the series had started with back-to-back losses, the
Celtics knew it was time to finish what they had started over the
past four games.
Avery Bradley scored 23 points and all five Boston starters reached
double figures as the Celtics blew out the Bulls 105-83 in Game 6.
The Celtics advance to face the Washington Wizards beginning Sunday
in Boston. The Wizards eliminated the Atlanta Hawks with a 115-99
victory Friday night.
"(After the first two games), the team wasn't right," Celtics center
Al Horford said. "But after that second game going into third, I
thought we were in a better place and that helped us get over the
And once the Celtics cleared an emotional hurdle that included star
guard Isaiah Thomas dealing with the death of his sister in a car
accident, they never looked back.
"I said this a couple of times -- bigger things than basketball
happen and that takes precedence," Boston coach Brad Stevens said.
"I was really proud of our guys how they treated each other and how
they stuck together."
The Celtics did so in Game 6 when a quick start and a balanced
scoring attack that included 16 points from Gerald Green and 12
apiece from Jae Crowder, Thomas and Horford was enough to do in the
The Celtics broke the game open early in the third quarter. Boston
started the second half on a 10-2 scoring run to build a 64-43 lead.
Green capped the run with a 3-point field goal as the Celtics, who
led by as many as 30 points, pulled away.
As Boston picked up speed, the Bulls ran out of gas.
Jimmy Butler, hobbled by knee soreness, led Chicago with 23 points.
Robin Lopez also scored 10 points for the Bulls, who dropped the
final four games of the best-of-seven series after grabbing a 2-0
lead with a pair of lopsided victories in Boston.
But after losing point guard Rajon Rondo to a fractured thumb after
Game 2, the Bulls weren't the same.
"We got off to poor starts in pretty much every game after the first
two," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. " ... Obviously, when you get
off to a poor start, you're expending a lot of energy."
Things just got worse as the season went on culminating on Friday
night when boos broke out across the United Center and chants of
"Fire Hoiberg" could be heard as the Bulls continued to struggle.
[to top of second column]
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) celebrates a basket as goes by
Chicago Bulls guard Isaiah Canaan (0) during the second half in game
six of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center.
The Celtics defeated the Bulls. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA
Dwyane Wade appeared to aggravate an elbow injury he
sustained late in the regular season. The veteran struggled
throughout the night, hitting on only 1 of 10 from the field. Isaiah
Canaan scored nine points, Michael Carter-Williams added eight
points off the bench and Paul Zipser had seven.
It all added up the Celtics closing out the Bulls in dominant
"They played like the (No.) 1 seed," Butler said of the Celtics.
"When they do that, they're really hard to guard, they're a really
Now, after advancing past the first round of the playoffs for the
first time in the Stevens' tenure as coach, the Celtics will look to
take another step when they face the Wizards.
Winning four straight games to close out the Bulls certainly built
some momentum after Boston struggled to find their footing.
"The sky is the limit for this team," Bradley said. "Anything can
happen as long as we continue to stay positive and play as hard as
NOTES: Celtics G Isaiah Thomas was scheduled to leave for Seattle
after Friday's game for his sister's funeral, which will be held
Saturday. Thomas' sister, Chyna, was killed in an automobile
accident earlier this month. Celtics coach Brad Stevens would not
comment on which members of the team would be traveling to the
funeral besides Thomas. ... Bulls F Jimmy Butler played 31 minutes
despite dealing with knee soreness. Asked if Butler had taken any
medication for the soreness, coach Fred Hoiberg said he did not
know. "He's obviously got some soreness, but Jimmy's going to fight
through it," Hoiberg said before Friday's game. "He's a warrior,
he's a guy that is as well-conditioned as anyone in this league and
he's going to go out and give everything that he has." ... G Rajon
Rondo (thumb) and G Cameron Payne were inactive for the Bulls.
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