We probably should have seen this coming. Both the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls typically use elite defensive play to drag along their inefficient offenses, leaving their head-to-head matchups to be waged as a battle of attrition. That was certainly the case in Wednesday’s ugly, tightly officiated affair, in which Boston escaped with a 71-69 win.
The scoring limitations of both teams were in full view throughout Wednesday’s game, but the third quarter — which the Bulls “won” 13-8 — showcased a really remarkable level of offensive inadequacy. One particular two-and-a-half-minute stretch comes to mind; after Kevin Garnett made a jumper with 8:29 remaining in the frame, Boston and Chicago combined their efforts into 12 consecutive bungled possessions (nine misses and three turnovers) without a single point to show for it. For those that lack the patience to sit through this entire game on DVR or League Pass Broadband, that brief stretch conveniently presents this matchup in a nutshell: slow play initiation, unproductive perimeter passing, sloppy ball-handling, and contested mid-range jumpers. Identical sequences repeated throughout the game to varying effect, but harsh reality set in for both teams in the third as neither club had the shot creators necessary to contend with so well-schooled an opposing defense.