Celtics vs. Bulls takeaways: C’s suffer first loss in blowout fashion – NBC Sports Boston



Celtics-Bulls takeaways: C’s suffer first loss in blowout fashion


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Monday night’s game in Chicago was a rough one all around for the Boston Celtics.

It started off promising for the C’s, who looked to stay undefeated in the early part of the campaign. They took an early 19-point lead over the Bulls and were firing on all cylinders with eight made 3-pointers in their first 11 attempts.

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Chicago responded with a 49-14 run. After scoring 39 points in the first quarter, Boston scored only 40 in the second and third combined.

Frustrations boiled over as C’s interim head coach Joe Mazzulla was ejected for yelling at an official during the third quarter. He was replaced by Damon Stoudamire, and in the fourth quarter, forward Grant Williams was ejected for unintentionally running into an official.

All in all, not a night the Celtics will want to remember.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown notched 26 and 21 points respectively in the 120-102 loss. DeMar DeRozan paced the Bulls with 25 points.

Here are our takeaways from the Celtics’ defeat, which bring them to 3-1 on the season. They’ll look to bounce back when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Celtics have a rebounding problem

The C’s were bullied on the boards by the Bulls. More specifically, by Nikola Vucevic.

Vucevic, celebrating his 32nd birthday, tallied 23 rebounds including 10 offensive boards. Those eye-popping numbers helped Chicago outrebound Boston, 60-44.

As solid of a start to the season as it’s been for the Celtics, the rebounding column hasn’t been pretty. They also were outrebounded in Saturday’s narrow win over the lowly Orlando Magic.

It goes without saying that the C’s miss big man Robert Williams’ presence. Noah Vonleh had five boards but found himself in foul trouble. Starting center Al Horford had five rebounds on the night. Tatum (eight rebounds) and Brown (six) led the team in that category.

That won’t get the job done.

Celtics’ defensive woes continue

The dominant 2021-22 Celtics defense has yet to carry over to the 2022-23 campaign. After Monday night’s loss, the C’s rank 27th in the NBA with a 118.7 defensive rating so far this season.

Boston’s perimeter defense was virtually non-existent as Chicago shot 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Overall, the Bulls were 42-for-87 (48.3 percent) from the floor.

The Celtics have allowed at least 104 points and an average of 116 points through their first four games. It’s been an uncharacteristic stretch for a team that hung its hat on its defensive identity last season. Robert Williams’ absence has been felt in this area as well.

Ayo Dosunmu is a Celtics killer

Add Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu to the list of players who inexplicably have the Celtics’ number. The 22-year-old dropped 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting (4-4 3-PT) to help Chicago to its decisive victory.

Dosunmu is now a ridiculous 27-for-30 (yes, you read that correctly) from the floor through four career games vs. Boston. He last gave the C’s fits on Jan. 15, 2022, when he tallied 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting to go with 10 boards.

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