The Boston defense: Keep in mind that everything the Celtics have accomplished the last two seasons has been based on a foundation of defense. Tom Thibodeau was the mad scientist behind their Defensenstein Monster. But without KG cleaning up everybody's mistakes (much like Alice on "The Brady Bunch"), Thibs doesn't look quite so genius-y, does he? In a must-win home playoff game, the C's gave up 115 points on 50 percent shooting (40-for-80). And, yeah, they put a lid on Derrick Rose, but Ben Gordon had a playoff career-high 42 points (14-for-24) -- including Chicago's final 12 -- despite the fact that Boston knew it was going to him every single possession down the stretch. BG was steaming like an atomic pile. I get that. But you'd think that one of the best defensive teams in the league would be able to figure out a way to get the ball out of Gordon's hands.
It's also worth noting that the Bulls ran out for 21 fast break points, which seems like an awful lot to for slow-it-down, grind-it-out playoff basketball.
The Bulls' rebounding: Talk about wasting an opportunity. Chicago could have put the Celtics into a crushing 2-0 series hole if they could have just grabbed a few more rebounds. Instead, they got pounded on the boards (50-36). Most damning was the fact that they gave up 21 offensive rebounds...which allowed Boston to score 32 second-chance points. As Vinny Del Negro said: "I loved the grit and toughness of our team, but you can't expect to win when you get outrebounded like that."
A By The Horns commenter named Nate pointed out that: "This game was lost by the failure of the Bulls guards to rebound. Gordon and Salmons combined for 2 defensive rebounds in 83 minutes of playing time. That's absolutely pathetic." And, indeed, Rajon Rondo -- who overcame a mild ankle sprain to finish with a triple-double (19/12/16) and 5 steals -- had 7 offensive rebounds. Opposing point guards should never have 7 offensive rebounds. Ever. And his biggest of the game came with 30 seconds left. The Bulls were up 113-112 when Rondo short-armed a 17-footer but managed to chase down his shot and dish it out to Ray Allen for a go-ahead three-pointer. As critical end-of-game mistakes go, that one was a doozy.
Other random Bulls-Celtics notes from Basketbawful reader DKH: "Wow, Chicago held a block party in Boston with 14 blocks in their loss...but they should work on protecting the boards more, where they allowed 21 offensive rebounds. Think that might have something to do with losing by 3 points? Ray Allen played nearly 40 minutes, and had 30 points, and was +5. Stephon Marbury played 9 minutes, had 2 points, and was -19. Ben Gordon had 42 points on 24 shots...and no assists, and also no turnovers. So he didn't cost his team, but he didn't give the ball up, I guess."
Joakim Noah: It's not Jo's fault. Ray Allen hit a redonkulous shot. But still, Noah was dotted by a game-winning shot. Speaking of which, here's some bonus bawful! Ray Allen on his game-winner (via Chris):
I feel like these Northmass clips shouldn't be as funny as they are...
Update! Vinny Del Negro: An anonymous commenter mentioned something I got a little upset about at By The Horns: "I think Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro deserves a lot of blame for the loss for poor timeout management -- couldn't even advance the ball to get a decent play up. I'm betting, with the way Gordon was shooting, if he got even a semblance of a good look, game goes to overtime." It's true. And this was the second straight game Vinny ran his team out of timeouts at the end of regulation. It didn't cost him Game 1, but it was part of what potentially cost his team Game 2.
Update! Officiating blunders: From Basketbawful reader J.T. Magee: "Doesn't really matter anymore, but the refs should be added to that bawful list by botching John Salmons' 3-pointer at the end of the 3rd quarter. The shot clock still said 1 when he let it go. It went in. It would've given Chicago a one-point lead heading into the 4th quarter. The buzzer sounded and the ref next to Salmons, I believe it was Steve Javie, blew his whistle after hearing the buzzer, not thinking about whether or not Salmons actually let the shot go in time. A shame shot clock violations can't be reviewed, too. Wasn't it a Ray Allen 3 that won the game, too?"
The Dallas Mavericks: That crashing, banging, crumpling sound you just heard? It was the Mavs coming back down to earth. I guess they figured their job was done when they surprised the Spurs in Game 1. They barely showed up for Game 1. Dallas let San Antonio shoot over 53 percent and dominate the boards (44-28) like they were Zed and every rebound was the Gimp he kept locked up in the basement. And on the subject of non-consensual BDSM, Tony Parker gave them quite the spanking in what might be the first occurrence in human history in which anyone has ever surrendered to the French. TP Parker went wild for 27 points in the first half and finished with 38 points (3 points off his playoff high) on 16-for-22 shooting. Parker also dished out 9 assists and grabbed as many rebounds (4) as Erick Dampier, otherwise known as "The Mavs' starting center."
But wait, there's more. The five Dallas starters finished with a combined plus-minus score of -70, led by Jason Kidd's -21. That's the same J-Kidd, by the way, who was responsible for defending the Spurs' PG. You know, Tony Parker. Anyway, the 21-point loss -- and Dirk's 3-for-14 shooting -- temporarily restored order in the NBA Universe. Now we'll see what the Spurs can do in Dallas. Bad news for the Mavericks: San Antonio has come back to win four series after losing Game 1 since 2002.
Update! Mark Cuban: Basketbawful reader Mladen pointed this out: "Mavs owner Mark Cuban punched a water cooler as San Antonio pulled away in the fourth." RAAARGH!! MARK CUBAN SMASH WATER COOLER!!
Update! Mike Budenholzer, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Mike T: "Prior to game 2 of the Spurs-Mavs series, the Spurs TV announcer asked Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer about adjustments that need to be made. Part of Coach Bud's response was: 'At the end of the day I think there was too much penetration, they were inside of us too much.'"
TNT: Another nomination from DKH. So...this is what TNT has come to? C-Webb challenging Charles Barkley to eat a piece of bread. That's it? Unless that bread was on fire, covered with crawling insects or attached to David Stern's mouth, I can't imagine how it could possibly rate coverage. Here's the shocking footage.
Update! Lacktion report: I should be added to Chris' report...as I almost lacktioned it out of this post.
Bulls-Celtics: Tony Allen is on fire as Boston's lacktator of choice, getting the green flag from Laikatu to flutter away to the bench after a 4 second Super Mario! His two-game lacktion streak not only puts him in the lead for most lacktive minutes in the Association so far (at 8:27 of unproductivity); he's also managed to have the longest (8:23 in Game 1) and shortest non-contributory stints of the posteason!
Mavs-Spurs: With the former four-time champs back on track, Gregg Popovich culled up several human victory cigars to revel in this 21-point victory. George Hill climbed his way to a goldmine worth 4.95 trillion (making him the richest man in the playoffs so far), while Fabricio Oberto's one made field goal did not counteract the negative stats he accrued in that same 4:58, fouling twice and giving up the rock once for a ritzy 3:2 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Mark Cuban sent Matt Carroll into a wonderland of wealth, taking down a capital gain of 2.35 trillion. And in 4:58, James Singleton missed a lone shot from downtown, took only one foul, and accrued a mere turnover for a suck differential of +3 - his second lacktive appearance in a row!
Amanda Masker: Okay, get this. Masker, a resident of Scranton, Pennsylvania, set her apartment on fire while trying to heat up leftover chicken wings on the stove. When firefighters arrived, one of them "told her to get clothes and get out, Ms. Masker cursed at him, pushed him and then struck him in the chest with her fists, police said. [The firefighter] escorted the struggling woman downstairs, where she was arrested by officers who were called to assist." Nope. Not making it up.