Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder are former teammates at Marquette. Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo have tremendous respect for one another as competitors.
But in the heat of battle, friendships and respect can at times fall by the wayside which is exactly what happened in the first half between these two Eastern Conference foes.
After a chippy first half, the Bulls went into the half ahead 57-49.
The last couple of minutes in the second quarter were much closer than the halftime score would indicate.
Butler drained a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer sounded that nearly doubled Chicago’s halftime lead.
His shot brought a conclusion to a first half which included four technical being called on one play in which Crowder was whistled for an offensive foul.
On that play, Butler seemed to tie up Crowder’s legs with both players on the floor. Crowder then seemed to forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest. That led to some back-and-forth smack talk between Thomas and Rondo.
All four players were whistled for technical fouls.
Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points.
As the Celtics soon discovered, finding open spots on the floor against the Bulls was much, much tougher than it was 24 hours earlier against the Nets.
Chicago continued to play with control and led by double digits throughout the second quarter.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s Boston-Chicago game.
The prodigal son looked good in his first game playing in front of lots of family and friends. He led all scorers with 14 points which included 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
The Celtics seemed to have found their stride in the second quarter with Bradley leading the charge. He led all Boston players with 12 points at the half.
The face of the Bulls franchise got off to a slow start, but soon picked up his play at both ends of the floor in the second quarter. He had 11 points at the half along with grabbing five rebounds.
He was a problem for the Boston Celtics right from the start, providing the kind of low-post scoring the Bulls will be looking for in the second half. At the half, Gibson had eight points and six rebounds.
The former Boston Celtic was doing what he has done well for most of his career – getting others involved. At the half Rondo had three points and a game-high six assists with four rebounds.
Boston needed him to be more of a scorer than a facilitator on Thursday, and Thomas was more than willing to oblige. He had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
Celtics 3-point defense
The Bulls got one good look after another from 3-point range, with the Celtics showing few signs of making the necessary adjustments. The Bulls connected on 53.8 percent of their 3-pointers (7-for-13) in the first half.