Jan 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; CBoston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens looks on during the first half against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics Stumble In Second Half, Lose to Chicago 94-82

Well, Hardwood Houdini fans, at least the Boston Celtics didn’t start the new year like they ended the old one.

Jan 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy (34) fights for a ball with Boston Celtics power forward Jared Sullinger (7) during the first half of their game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

That’s right: instead of building a big lead, only to fritter it away for a last-minute loss, the Celtics played from behind most of the evening and allowed things to unravel quickly in the fourth quarter, falling to the Chicago Bulls 94-82 tonight.

Let’s be clear about this much: this game was about as fun to watch as an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  (Can you tell I’m not a fan?)  There were turnovers (32 combined, 19 by the Cs) and missed shots (both teams combined to shoot 67 for 165; 98 missed shots!) galore, which I guess we should have expected given the records of these two teams.  Making matters worse was the fact that tonight’s referees mistakenly thought everyone had tuned in to watch them blow their whistles, and boy, did they did their damnedest to keep this game from having any sort of flow whatsoever.  Forty-five personal fouls were called, in a game that wasn’t even that physical (Jared Sullinger‘s mugging of Taj Gibson aside).  In every way imaginable, this game was hell to endure.

Jordan Crawford led the Celtics tonight with 22 points and 7 assists, but it sure didn’t seem that way while watching the game.  Honestly, the only players who stood out in a good way for me tonight were Jared Sullinger, who often kept plays alive by fighting for rebounds and loose balls (he finished the game with 6 offensive boards), and Avery Bradley, who impressed the heck out of the guys calling the game for folks in Chicago with his on-the-ball defense.  Neither one of these guys had great nights offensively, but they tried to help their team win in other ways.  Kris Humphries had some moments, too, whose manly rebound-turned-slam dunk prompted this half-serious Tweet from me:



Meanwhile, Jeff Green scored 11 points on 5-18 shooting, Gerald Wallace played 18 minutes and did not attempt even one shot, and Vitor Faverani traveled.  That about sums up the Celtics’ evening right there!

Overall, not a good team effort by Boston at all tonight.  Cripes, they almost allowed Joakim Noah to earn a triple-double tonight (17 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists) as they continually doubled him, leaving other players wide open for cuts and shots.  The Bulls were a team that had been barely averaging 80 points a game at home recently, and the Celtics allowed them to score 94.  This is not the start to the year that coach Brad Stevens wanted, I’m sure, especially with a huge road trip beginning this Sunday.

With the loss, the Celtics fall out of playoff contention for now.  I admire Boston’s heart and competitive spirit most nights, but it appears that the NBA has figured out that these Celtics lack for talent, and they are starting to take advantage of Boston’s deficiencies.  I am curious to see how Stevens handles this slump the Cs find themselves in; playoffs or not, I want to know that coach Stevens can shake things up in order to get results.

Thanks for the read – leave your comments below, or @theamazingMrS!

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