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Bulls 121, Celtics 118 (2OT): Bulls outlast Celtics and tie the series

I actually knew the result of this game (and some of the key plays) before sitting down to watch it. If I hadn't know the Bulls had won, I likely would've been way too intense over missed FTs and poor defense in clutch situations. Or too pumped after some unbelievable shots by the Bulls guards (with Derrick Rose being simply amazing in the 4th quarter). But forget the calm, I wish I could've seen it live, as despite some more sloppy play, it was another classic from these two teams.

There were a few situations where the Bulls could've put the game away in regulation, but overtime wasn't the worst result for them as it exposed the difference in depth between these two teams. Mikki Moore had nothing but a foul and a block in 9 minutes. Stephon Marbury had 2 points in over 5 minutes. Tony Allen managed to post a +/- of -12 in 3:07 of floor time with his only box score contribution being a costly turnover. Brian Scalabrine fouled out in 18 minutes, though perhaps most importantly he had to play 18 minutes in the first place, with Kendrick Perkins fouling out before the end of the 4th period. With 6 periods in this game it made a huge difference to see the very soft Celtics bench have to log major time.

The Celtics big man depletion allowed Vinny to play 4 guards for most of both overtimes, a strategy that would usually have me screaming bloody murder but worked in this matchup. Boston's only post-playing big was Davis, a matchup I'll take against Noah (a perfect big to complement small-ball). All of Rose, Gordon, Hinrich, and Salmons made plays, and the Celtics were not able to punish them on the other end. A more conventional lineup including Tyrus Thomas could've worked too, but Tyrus was not playing smart in this shot selection for much of the game and the fear of his absence meaning getting pounded on the glass was not there. Credit to Vinny for this recognition. And kudos to Brad Miller for getting in foul trouble as a way to force Vinny to resist leaving him out there to die. (also, kudos for hitting Davis in the face. Man, I love Brad Miller)

With the Bulls owning a clear talent advantage in extra time, they were able to eventually outlast the Celtics, by spreading the floor and having their guards attack one-on-one (surprise, I know. But that is what this team is and it's not changing soon). With the help of some lucky shots on their end (John Salmons especially) and some lucky misses from the Celtics (Davis missing a couple gimmees, and going 4-16 overall. That's the Davis I know and like seeing get hit in the face!), The Bulls climbed out of a scary hole in the first OT (huge BG game-tying 3-pointer) and then a relatively underwhelming 11-8 advantage in the 2nd OT. 

But more important than a late-game play here or there going either way is the fact that we have 3 out of 4 games being razor-close. The blowout was the anomaly, and the Bulls are still in this series.