BOSTON – It looked as if the Bulls’ great start to their season was about to have it’s first true dud of a game on Monday night in Boston.
With 2:53 to go in the third quarter, the Celtics had a 19-point lead over Billy Donovan’s team in what looked like would be the visitor’s second loss of the season. Instead, what transpired over the next 14:53 would be some of the best basketball which the team has played all season long, and produced fourth quarter for the history books.
After shaving the lead down to 14 points before the end of the third quarter, the Bulls’ offense and defense turned it up to finish the game on a tear in the final 12 minutes. They outscored Boston 39-11 in that fourth quarter to run away with a 128-114 win to improve to 6-1 on the season that was quite unique in the shot clock era.
Per ESPN Stats and Info, the Bulls became the first team to win by 14 or more points after trailing by 14 or more points heading into the fourth quarter since 1954-1955.
Indeed the Bulls were that dominant on both ends of the floor in that stretch, leading to perhaps their best quarter of the season to date. The visitor’s defense put the clamps on the Celtics, allowing them to shoot just 21.3 percent from the floor while blocking three shots and forcing three steals.
Meanwhile, the offense turned it on, shooting 13-of-16 from the field (81.3 percent) with seven assists, four of them coming from Nikola Vucevic, who finished just shy of a triple-double for the evening (11 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists).
In that quarter alone, Zach LaVine had 13 points to add to his 26 while DeMar DeRozan had 10 to add to his game-high 37 on the evening. All of that made for one unforgettable finish to what’s been a memorable start to the year for the Bulls which Donovan believes the team can use when it likely finds itself in a situation like this again.
“I think when you have opportunities like this; there’s going to be other games that you’re down and I think you can always look back and say ‘OK, you know what, we have the ability to come back, how do we do it? How do we go about doing it? Today was a pretty good recipe on how to do it,” said Donovan, and he couldn’t be any more right about that.