The Bulls are seemingly immune to back-to-backs, and a day after one of their worst offensive showings of the season they were able to look remarkably better against Boston. The Bulls were able to score a ton of inside, with a 48-36 edge in points in the paint. Both Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli were able to get in the lane off of the dribble from the start, with 20 points between them in the opening quarter and Deng 8/8 from the line. Luol had one of his best games in a while, finishing with 21 points on 9 shots.
And the bigs were even more dominant. Joakim Noah had the 2nd triple-double of his career, and as you would expect, it meant he made positive things happen all over the court. He helped the Bulls dominate in rebounding: as a team the Bulls grabbed 28% of available offensive rebounds and 81% of the defensive misses. They also had a 10-2 edge in blocked shots. It seems like this is tradition when playing the Celtics, as they rarely have many competent big men outside of Garnett, who Noah seems to really relish playing against. Noah's assists were also huge, as the aforementioned wings were able to keep getting easy looks and FTAs because of Noah's passing and command of a double-team.
All the bigs feasted: Carlos Boozer quietly (seriously, I had little idea) had a 21 point, 12 rebound performance, which could've been even more if he converted a few chippies early. Taj Gibson looked to be battling a sore ankle (or something) all game, but in his 26 minutes had 13 points and hit the most jumpers we've seen of him all season.
The Bulls never trailed after taking the lead in the 2nd quarter by abusing the Celtics bench (who had a combined 4 field goals in 99 overall minutes, yeesh). Things did get their closest in the 3rd quarter when Rajon Rondo almost single-handedly brought them back and sent Kirk Hinrich into early retirement (if only!). The hated alien-looking jerkface was the only consistent option the C's had all night, and finished with 26 points and 8 assists, including two accidental 3-pointers.
But on the other end was a welcome outside threat for the Bulls in Nate Robinson, who had 17 points propelled nearly exclusively by hitting 5-7 from three. We hadn't seen quite that good of a game like that from Nate in a while (hasn't shot over 50% in 10 contests, and his biggest point total since 12/04), and it's probably not coincidental that it was against a team that once cast him aside. Nate actually opened up his night in a weird lineup alongside Marquis Teague to start the 2nd quarter, though Nate's hot shooting that blew open the 4th earned him 22 minutes while Teague only finished with 7.
And since I mentioned minutes and this has to be consistently brought up (who else will, besides...um, everyone I guess): both Deng and Noah were under 40 tonight. There was a head-scratcher when Noah came back in when the Bulls were up 20 with 5 minutes left and the Celtics had given up (i.e., playing Jason Collins), but even Thibs showed some perspective and did pull him at the 2:30 mark. Noah had already gotten his triple-double, so maybe it was to make sure the team got those free Big Macs in honor of Scalabrine's return.