Live Blog of the Epic Bulls-Celtics Game Seven

May 02, 2009 | Tom Clayton

Tonight is the culmination of the greatest NBA Playoff series I have ever seen; the Bulls and Celtics have battled back and forth for six games.  This series has had it all: huge shots, controversial calls, and heart stopping finishes.  This series has drawn in even the most minimal of basketball fans.  With the four overtime games and seven total overtimes played, this series has had more drama than The Pelican Brief.  The forty minutes in overtime both teams have played almost make tonight a game eight.

 

The Celtics have a huge advantage going into tonight’s game seven. The only game in an NBA Playoff series where home court matters is game seven; of the 100 game sevens played in NBA Playoff history the home team has won 80.  Add to that statistic that the new Garden is going to be off the hook and it is obvious a very young Bulls team has a tough row to hoe.

 

It doesn’t look like K.G. is going to play tonight but it would have been really cool to see.  For a series that has had everything I think seeing K.G. do his best Willis Reed impression and suit up tonight would have taken this series off the charts.

 

A player to keep an eye on tonight is Bull big man Joakim Noah, who has really broken out in this series. Through six games Noah is averaging 10.7ppg, 12.8rpg, 2.2bpg, and is really setting a physical tone in the paint.  Noah will have to keep “Big Baby” Davis and Kendrick Perkins off the boards and neutralize them offensively. 

 

I will be back to update in real time as the Bulls and Celtics face off in an epic game seven.

 

8:31pm

 

At the end of the first quarter the Bulls are leading the Celtics 27-23.  Through twelve minutes the young Bulls do not seem to be intimidated by the loud Boston crowd or the enormity of the game they are playing in.  The Bulls are forcing the action and playing an up-tempo style that should give them an advantage.

 

Bulls rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro did an outstanding job of getting Ben Gordon some good, early looks.  Gordon has responded with a twelve point first quarter.

 

NBA Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose is without a doubt the fastest player from foul line to foul line with a ball in his hand I have ever seen.  Rose also made an unbelievable block from behind when Brian Scalabrine had a wide open dunk opportunity.

 

Paul Pierce’s jumper seems to be off a bit in the early going but I fully expect him to step up.  Pierce is a primetime player who loves to step up in big games.

 

 

So far so good for the Bulls they are controlling the pace of the game and haven’t let Pierce or Allen get into a rhythm yet.  This game is setting up for another epic finish.

 

9:15pm

 

Wow, what a turn of events in the second quarter.  The Bulls went from controlling the game in the first quarter to trail the Celtics 52-38 at halftime.

 

After coming out in the first quarter and showing no signs of intimidation, Chicago seemed to completely unravel in the second quarter.   The Bulls began tuning the ball over way too much as they began playing out of control on offense.  The Celtics only have four turnovers to the Bulls eleven at the half.

 

In the first six games the Bulls bench had dominated the Celtics but tonight the Celtics are getting big contributions from Brian Scalabrine who has eight points and Eddie House with six.  Meanwhile Kirk Henrich and Brad Miller who had single handedly outscored the Celtics bench in five previous games in this series have only five points combined.

 

The Bulls are getting another great game from Ben Gordon (17) who has cemented his status as on of the elite scorers in the league during this series.  Derrick Rose has eight points but he needs to do a better job of getting his teammates involved; his one assist isn’t going to cut the mustard.

 

The Celtics are getting scoring from everyone; Paul Pierce is their only player in double digits with eleven.  Ray Allen coming of his 51 point explosion in game six has nine quiet points tonight. 

 

Kendrick Perkins and “Big Baby” Davis may not be the most skilled players in the NBA but wow are they gigantic.  The pair looks more like defensive tackles than basketball players.  If Davis tossed on some shoulder pads I promise you Daniel Snyder would trade a first round pick to the Celtics for him.

 

The Bulls look out of sorts right now; Del Negro has to settle his team down if they have any shot at coming back.  The Bulls eleven point second quarter looked uglier then it sounds and I don’t know if this team is going to be able to right the ship.  Chicago didn’t score a basket in the final eight minutes of the half, and seemed to begin to show their inexperience against a veteran team. All NBA teams make a run; I just hope the Bulls can make this before this game is out of reach.

 

10:14pm

 

A last burst by the Bulls helped them pull within seven going into the fourth quarter.  The Celtics were outscored 33-26 in the third quarter; Boston played well but Chicago was on fire coming out of the locker room.  The Bulls did a much better job of moving the ball and taking care of the ball in the third.

 

Derrick Rose took a more assertive role in the third quarter scoring ten points and doing a better job of setting up Chicago’s offense.  If Rose can develop any type of perimeter game he could be a dominant point guard.  Rose possesses amazing athleticism and handles that allows him to get to the rim at will

 

Joakim Noah has a non-stop motor; he is constantly moving and always seems to be around the ball. Noah scored all seven of his points in the third quarter and has been huge on the boards with twelve.  He also plays a physical brand of basketball as shown by his tackle of Rajon Rondo midway through the third quarter.

 

Speaking of Rondo he took a real beating during the third quarter getting knocked around by Noah and Brad Miller on back to back drives.  Rondo is becoming a very efficient, elite point guard who is vastly underrated.

The Celtics continue to play a complete team game as Ray Allen has sixteen and Paul Perce has fifteen.  Nobody is really dominating for the Celtics; they are just playing team basketball with everyone contributing.

 

This has been one of the most competitive and physical series in recent memory and so far game seven has been no exception.  Players are pushing and shoving each other and leaving everything they have on the floor.

 

The Bulls looked good in the third quarter and showed they still have some fight left in them.  I think the final quarter could be the exciting conclusion this series deserves.

 

10:43

After two Ben Gordon free throws the Bulls have pulled with in three with 5:39 left in the game.

 

The Bulls look reenergized on defense and offense and the Celtics look to be playing a little scared.  The Bulls will not go away and the Celtics don’t seem capable of putting them away.  This game is setting up for another great finish.

 

11:04pm

 

The Celtics finish off the Bulls 109-99 to win the most exciting series I have ever seen.  It was a bit of a letdown for the Celtics to win game seven by ten but overall it was just an astonishing series to watch.

 

The Celtics won this game by dominating the Bulls in the paint; Boston outscored Chicago by 28 points and out rebounded them by 45-40.  While Boston was lead by Ray Allen’s 23, they had five players in double digits. 

 

Boston’s game-ball tonight deserves to go to Eddie House who scored sixteen and was perfect from the field including 4-4 from behind the arc.  Whenever the Bulls made a run and began to pull close House would hit a huge three to regain the momentum.

 

Ben Gordon is one of the top ten scorers in the NBA; he has range for days and hits some of the most unbelievably difficult shots I have ever seen.

 

Kirk Henrich stepped up in the second half scoring fourteen of his sixteen points in the final twenty four minutes of the game.  While Henrich is an offensive spark off the bench he is a defensive liability that has trouble fighting through pick and staying with his man.

 

The Bulls showed me a lot in this series, I think the future is bright in Chicago.  They have a lot of young talent and with the return of Loul Deng they should be a top four team in the east for years to come.  Chicago really needs to add a low post scorer who can get easy baskets; right now the Bulls live and die by the three.

 

As for the Celtics they are really going to have a tough time after playing the longest, most grueling playoff series in NBA history.  I don’t know how much they are going to have left in the tank when they begin a series with a talented Orlando team in less then 48 hours.

 

I don’t think I can shower this series with enough praise.  As someone who enjoys college basketball a lot more than the NBA this series has reaffirmed how good of a product the NBA has.  This is the first series in a longtime that I considered must watch television.  Unfortunately this was a first round series and I have no idea how any other series will even come close to match the excitement and drama of this one. 

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