KG vs Joakim Noah: Rivalry on

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KG vs Joakim Noah: Rivalry on

Tonight will be the 20th installment in what has become one of the most entertaining rivalries in the NBA. At the very least, the most entertaining rivalry in Boston.

Tom Thibodeau vs Doc Rivers? Nope.

Paul Pierce vs. Luol Deng? Nope.

Rajon Rondo vs. Derrick Rose? Shut up that's not even funny.

Nate Robinson vs. a ball boy? Not bad. But still wrong.

The answer is Kevin Garnett and Joakim Noah.

It's Kevin Garnett vs. Joakim Noah.

It's gold, Jerry. Gold!

As I type, KG has the edge in team and individual numbers. His Celtics are 12-7 against Noah's Bulls, and in those 19 games, Garnett's averaged 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds, while Noah's posted 10.8 and 10.1. (There's also the matter of the 2009 Playoffs, and that certainly counts for something, but not as much as if Garnett had actually played.)

Either way, to this point, KG has definitely gotten the better of this rivalry. But lately, the tides have turned. Noah might be 7-12 lifetime, but he's won six of the last eight. And this year, even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls have been steady while the C's have been all over the place.

Noah was actually questionable for tonight's game with a sore foot, but announced at this morning's shootaround that he "wouldn't miss this for anything."

And by "this" you know that he means this . . .

KG rakes the face

Mouth open? OK, go

This might sting a little

Mwahahaha

Elbow to the chest coming in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Elbow to the face coming in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Noah dunk. NOAH MAAAAD!

Actually, maybe you shouldn't click on this one

Is this a prosthetic?

I'm not looking AT you but I'm talking TO you

He means his rivalry with Kevin Garnett.

So, why don't they get along?

Because they're too similar. Not in pure skill, but in the way they approach game. Deep down, you know they respect the hell out of the way the other one competes. But they're like two live cables; when their paths cross sparks are going to fly. Throw in the generational divide and the always high stakes, and you can see how we got here. You have to love that we did. And look forward to watching them face off on the parquet.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Stars, studs and duds: Bradley delivers another two-way gem

Stars, studs and duds: Bradley delivers another two-way gem

CHICAGO – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s series-clinching 105-83 Game 6 win over the Chicago Bulls.
 
STARS
 

Avery Bradley

He delivered yet another two-way gem for the Celtics, scoring nine of his 23 points in the first quarter that set the tone for Boston’s win.
 
Jimmy Butler

Gutsy performance by Butler whose sore knees didn’t allow him to be as explosive as he’s accustomed to at both ends of the floor. He still managed to score a team-high 23 points along with grabbing seven rebounds.
 
Al Horford

It’s almost to the point where you expect Horford to deliver a balanced scoring line. In Game 6 he had 12 points, 7 assists and six rebounds.
 

STUDS
 
Isaiah Thomas

His shot wasn’t falling (he was 4-for-12), but Thomas still managed to make his presence felt. He finished with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.
 
Robin Lopez

He has had better games, but he still finished with a decent stat line with 10 points and five rebounds.
 

DUDS
 
Dwyane Wade

Absolutely brutal night for Wade who may have played his last game for the Bulls if he decides to opt-out of his contract and become a free agent. He had just two points, missing nine of his 10 shots from the field.

Celtics blow out the Bulls in Game 6, move on to face the Wizards

Celtics blow out the Bulls in Game 6, move on to face the Wizards

CHICAGO – The Boston Celtics were at a crossroads just two games into their first-round series against Chicago.

Down 2-0, something had to change – and change fast – if they were going to avoid being remembered as one of the worst number one seeds in NBA history.

“We didn’t have a meeting, but it was a reality check for us,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley who talked about how the team was “humbled after losing two games.”

They had a choice.

They could feel sorry for themselves and continue to struggle, or as Bradley put it, “come here (Chicago) and make history.”

The Celtics did just that, becoming the first number one seed in the best-of-seven series era to lose the first two games at home, and respond by winning the next four which includes a 105-83 Game 6 win to eliminate the Bulls.

Boston’s blowout victory was fueled in large part by a furious third quarter in which they dominated the Bulls in every way imaginable, outscoring Chicago 34-16 in the quarter which gave them a decisive 88-59 lead going into the fourth.

The 29-point lead after three quarters was a historical moment. It now stands as the largest lead the Celtics have had in a road playoff game after three quarters of play.

Boston moves on to the Conference semi-finals where they will face the Washington Wizards with Game 1 expected to be at the TD Garden on Sunday.

Fourth-year coach Brad Stevens advances past the first round of the playoffs for the first time, while the Celtics franchise is in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

And in the final game of the series, the Celtics’ depth proved to be just too much for the injury-riddled Bulls to overcome.

Former Celtic Rajon Rondo, who led the Bulls to wins in Games 1 and 2, suffered a fractured right thumb injury in Game 2 and was unable to return in the series.

And while Jimmy Butler had a strong 23-point performance in Game 6, he was hampered to some extent by sore knees which more than anything, seemed to take something away from his explosiveness both as a scorer and to defend at a high level.

The player benefiting most from Butler’s less-than-ideal status health-wise, was Avery Bradley.

After scoring a playoff career-high 24 points in Boston’s Game 5 win, he got off to a fast start in Game 6 with nine of his 23 points scored in the first quarter.

Bradley’s scoring, primarily from 3-point range, was indicative of how the game began for the Celtics.

They opened with a 9-4 run, with all nine points coming from 3-point range.

Chicago got a couple shots to go down, but Boston went on an 8-2 spurt that gave them their first double-digit lead 21-11, after back-to-back dunks by Gerald Green and Al Horford, respectively.

Boston’s control remained strong as the first quarter ended with the Celtics ahead 30-23.

And the Celtics’ second unit picked up where the starters left off by scoring eight of the first 10 points of the second quarter to lead 38-25.

Boston’s second unit helped push the Celtics’ lead to as many as 17 points in the second before the Bulls began to chip away at it.

A lay-up by Chicago’s Paul Zipser capped off an 8-0 run by the Bulls that cut Boston’s lead to 42-33 with 5:50 to play in the first half.

Boston continued to play with in the double-digit neighborhood before closing the quarter by scoring nine of the last 13 points to lead by 13 at the half.