When the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics squared off at the United Center on November 12, it would mark the first of four meetings between the two clubs this season. While some experts have written off the Celtics this year, I still view them as a contender in the Conference even with the departure of Ray Allen over the summer. With that being said, I wasn’t that surprised to see them jump out to a 12-point lead at halftime, and they led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter. While the Bulls did trim the deficit to three points, missed free-throws and fatigue prevented them from getting any closer, as the Celtics escaped with a 101-95 win on our home floor.
There are no moral victories in defeat, but there were some positives from this game to reflect upon. One of the obvious positives is the fact that Luol Deng continues to assert himself as a leader on this team. Deng scored 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field to go along with 11 rebounds and three assists. He also led the team in minutes played with 45. Although wins will not come easy for the Bulls this season, it is critical that Deng maintains this level of production even after Derrick Rose returns to the lineup. One of the biggest deficiencies this team had over the past two seasons was the lack of a legitimate second scoring option. However, it now appears that Deng is more than willing and able to fill that role.
Another reason why the fans should view this game as a positive is the play of Marquis Teague. Sure, his five points on 1-of-4 shooting was not overly impressive by any means, but he played significant minutes due to the injury of Kirk Hinrich. He played so well that Tom Thibodeau kept him in the game for the entire fourth quarter. While neither him or Nate Robinson could contain Rajon Rondo (20 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds), Teague provided the Bulls with valuable minutes against a quality opponent. In my opinion, his performance was not too bad considering it was the first time he played for an extended period of time this season.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bulls since the 1987-1988 season. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
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“Teague learns a lesson”, Mark Potash, Chicago Sun-Times