Keep your eye on Marcus Smart baseline 😂 pic.twitter.com/0CISuMfzhm
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 6, 2018
You know it’s a satsfactory night for the Celtics when the signature highlight is Marcus Smart‘s nimble flip-up after a whistle.
So it was for the Boston Celtics as they smothered the Chicago Bulls 35-16 in the first quarter en route to a 105-89 victory.
Brad Stevens followed the Smart flip with a Brad quip. Delving deep into the x’s and o’s postgame, Stevens explained the win: “Our defense was good.”
Indeed, the NBA’s number-one-ranked defense didn’t disappoint. And the Celtics added an unaccustomed dash of early in-the-paint dominance.
Box score bullets
Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 21 in minutes and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Brown was also perfect again from the line — his new approach seems to be working. “I liked his attitude and his aggressiveness going to the basket tonight,” Stevens said.
Shane Larkin got the start in place of Kyrie Irving and in 16 minutes, was an efficient 3-for-3 from the floor (all 3-pointers) to go with 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. (A per-40-minutes triple double.)
Al Horford bounced back from an off-game against the Houston Rockets, taking charge in the paint early and passing the job on to Greg Monroe later. The Big Phlegmatic scored 13 points in 22 minutes on just 8 shots, and grabbed 6 rebounds.
“He took a lot of criticism after the Houston game,” NBC’s Abby Chin commented. “It’s nice to see him put up those numbers.”
Rozier scored 13 points and doled out a team-high 7 assists. Theis plowed through a painful blow to the groin and grabbed 6 rebounds. And Greg “Monroe Doctrine” Monroe pulled down 9 rebounds and scored 10 points in continuing Horford’s early mastery of the Bulls inside.
Yes, it was the Bulls. In other words, #OnToMinnesota.
(Oops, too soon probably. Make that #OnToTheWolves.)