Bulls-Celtics Links

» May 1, 2009 10:46 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com:  “I don’t know if this is the greatest NBA series of all time, but it’s the greatest something. At what point do you bronze these games and put them on eBay? Thursday night it was a 128-127 Bulls win in triple overtime at the United Center. Game 6 was so intense, so compelling and so exhausting that the crowd of 23,430 needed a post-victory IV transfusion — and they only watched. ‘Every game I’ve been saying this is the best game I’ve ever played in,’ said the Bulls’ John Salmons, who scored 35 points and was on the court longer (59:56 of the 63 total minutes) than anyone else. Four of the six Bulls-Celtics games have gone to overtime, two of them have gone to multiple OTs. There have been 106 lead changes, and that includes the Game 3 Boston blowout when there were zero. Seriously, I don’t know where to start. Ray Allen scores 51 points for the Celtics and it becomes a footnote? Boston’s Rajon Rondo wins the Fling-Kirk-Hinrich-Into-The Scorer’s-Table competition and it’s basically forgotten three quarters and three overtimes later?”

Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe:  “Game 6 had more blood (Paul Pierce, nasal laceration), more pressure, and more of the high blood pressure these teams have caused since the seventh-seeded Bulls stunned the Celtics in overtime in the first game 13 days ago. What else is left? Kevin Garnett pulling a Willis Reed at the Garden tomorrow night? Maybe Larry and Michael coming out of retirement to settle the thing once and for all. ‘I don’t know what to say about this series,’ said Celtics captain Paul Pierce, who fouled out chasing down Joakim Noah after a crucial turnover near the end of the third overtime. ‘It’s a phenomenal series. It’s been great for the fans. Everybody is getting their money’s worth.’ Amen. If you are a fan of roundball theater, it simply cannot get any better than this.”

Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe:  “Fifty-one points in 59 minutes. A playoff franchise-record nine 3-pointers. The euphoria of being unstoppable in a sold-out building on the road. Those were supposed to be highlights Ray Allen would remember after one of the greatest performances of his illustrious career. But instead of reminiscing about his hot hand, Allen was mad at himself for not being able to get 2 more points that could have led the Celtics to victory instead of a stunning, 128-127 triple-overtime loss to the Bulls in Game 6 at the United Center last night. Allen and the Celtics are now dealt a do-or-die Game 7 tomorrow at TD Banknorth Garden. ‘As an individual I do everything I can to be ready for whatever play comes my way or whatever I can do to help this team win,’ Allen said. ‘The ball stopped moving. The bigs started setting screens. And the shots were there. When I was sitting in the shower I was thinking about all the plays that I missed, all the shots that I missed that didn’t end up falling.”

Brian Robb of CelticsHub:  “Ray earned each and every one of those 51 points with a steady diet of strong drives and floaters to go along with his outside marksmanship. The degree of difficulty on the two shots at the end of double overtime which extended the game speak for themselves and will no doubt are all ready being broken down in the editing room to be released with the next batch of NBA playoff commercials. I mean at this point, it’s just a pleasure to watch Ray do what he does best and it’s nice to know he has made enough incredible buckets in this series to further cement his reputation as one of the best clutch shooters this league has ever seen. That being said, when someone takes 32 shots in a game, you generally don’t hear any grumblings about that being too low of a number of attempts. 32 is a lot of shots, even in a triple overtime game. As the dust settles after this one though I can’t help but wonder aloud whether Ray should have taken more.”

Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun-Times:  “‘It’s a lot of fun, it’s tiring, it’s heart-breaking,’ said center Brad Miller, whom Boston coach Doc Rivers called ‘the savior’ for the Bulls. ‘It’s been a battle. You take all these shots. You have a whole season of the ‘NBA, where amazing happens’ commercials.’ Miller finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds and was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Words nearly failed Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro when he tried to summarize the game, which included 51 points from Boston’s Ray Allen, including a playoff-record-tying nine three-pointers. ‘This definitely doesn’t feel like my first year coaching after this series,’ Del Negro said. ‘There’s so much to talk about, I don’t know where to start.’”

John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times:  “All of the overtime periods in the series are a testament to how close the teams are inability — and how neither team can close the deal when they have a lead like the very good teams do on a regular basis. And just as improbable as the game was the player who produced perhaps the game’s most decisive play. Salmons had 35 points, Rose had 28 points and Brad Miller came off the bench for 23 points (8-for-9 shooting) and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls, while Ray Allen pumped in a game-high 51 points to lead the Celtics. The teams still might be playing at the United Center if not for a steal and three-point play on the fastbreak by Bulls center Joakim Noah. That’s right: Noah. ‘That’s Jo,’ Rose said. ‘He’s all energy, giving his all.’”

John Lemon of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald:  “The scuffle wasn’t Rondo’s only problem Thursday. He entered averaging a triple double in the series – 24.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 10.2 assists – and wasn’t that far off from another with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 19 assists. But that shooting (23.5 percent) was a far cry from the 51 percent he hit in the first five games. In the fourth quarter, Rondo missed both his shots and both free throws, helping the Bulls rally from 99-91 down to force overtime. After shooting just once in the fist two overtimes, Rondo missed 5 of his 6 shots in the third OT, including shots on Boston’s final two possessions. While Rondo had his first poor shooting game of the series, he did have an assist-to-turnover point guards dream of: 19 assists and 0 turnovers.”

Frank Dell’Apa of The Boston Globe:  “Glen Davis’s 3-point play made it 121-120 with 3:41 remaining in the third OT, but that would be the last time the Celtics held the advantage. Chicago went ahead on a Rose follow and Hinrich foul shot. Allen tied the score, 123-123. The Celtics made two stops on Rose. But Joakim Noah stole the ball from Pierce, dunking for a 3-point play and a 3-point lead with 35.5 seconds remaining, Pierce fouling out on the play. Eddie House cut the deficit to 1, then Miller made it 128-125 with 28.3 seconds to go as Davis fouled out. ‘I was upset with the turnover,’ Pierce said. ‘I saw [Scalabrine] wide open and I should have taken my time with the pass. It’s Game 7 and we’ll be ready. It comes down to who has the most toughness, who has the most heart. We know what they are trying to do and they know what we are trying to do. Whoever has the most heart and toughness will win.’”

Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog:Up until this point I’ve been hesitant to call this an ‘instant classic.’ That just seems to be one of those terms that is overused.  Besides, I’m not old enough to speak authoritatively on history. However, after last night’s epic, I can’t imagine there being another series that rivaled this one.  Yes, it is just the first round, so the stakes are somewhat lower, but it is still win or go home. Whatever you are looking for in a playoff series is here.  Buzzer beaters, gutsy performances through pain, young players stepping up, cagey veterans never letting up, ‘playoff fouls,’ good (and bad) coaching, the list goes on.  …and on, and on… This series has included 7 overtime periods.  Seven.  This is history happening right here. Someday in the future you’ll be having a conversation with someone about some future playoff series and how close it is or how many overtimes it includes.  You will laugh and say, ‘that’s nothing, I remember when…’ and you’ll describe this series. The only question at this point is how you’ll remember it.  Will it be a hard fought yet satisfying win or a hard fought regrettable loss?”

Blog-a-Bull:  “These 3 overtimes were full of so many insane plays, good and bad, it was too fun to care about anything except enjoying this game, and this series, and hoping like hell the Bulls could keep it going by winning tonight. Because that’s what this is: not great teams, but great fun. The very reason the games have been so exciting is because these teams are so flawed. The Bulls showed no end-of-game situational management at all, ran no plays outside of isolations for John Salmons (who was un-believable tonight), was  bizarrely subbing Lindsey Hunter into every crucial possession…and the Celtics with the similar problems, some unbelievably dumb fouls and turnovers. When the Bulls final play in the 2nd OT was basically Brad Miller holding the ball for 7 seconds and giving it to Salmons to fall down (Lindsey Hunter with the inbounds! Why? Who the hell knows!), it really was hammered home: This Bulls team is not that good. This Celtics team may be even even worse. But it doesn’t matter.”

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:  “Someone needs to lock John Paxson and Danny Ainge in a room and not let them out until they’ve fixed the economy, restored representative government to North Korea, cured swine flu and fitted everyone who wants them with Wolverine claws. If they could assemble the perfect combination of basketball players to give us this, the most ridiculously wonderful and absurd basketball drama of all time, then surely all of that will be a snap. Think about the thousands, or maybe millions of permutations that could’ve resulted in something other than these 24 basketball players converging at this moment to provide us with the greatest playoff series in NBA history. Think of all the dynasties, the Hall of Famers, the brilliant coaches, the heated rivalries. Nothing comes close to this.  For whatever reason, these were the only players who could’ve given us four overtime games, each more thrilling than the last.”

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports:  “Now that the latest installment was over, they got Joakim Noah , the 7-foot free spirit with the Sideshow Bob haircut, and asked him a question over the public address system. The United Center was still rocking, but it suddenly went silent except for the ringing in everyone’s ears. In search of some unlikely genius to sum up the craziest series anyone had ever seen, who better to turn to than this son of a tennis star and an artist from near Greenwich Village that no one can make sense of anyway. He’d just made the least-expected play of a series full of them, an open-court steal and driving dunk that both fouled out Paul Pierce  and gave Chicago a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. It ended Bulls 128, Celtics 127 in a triple-overtime Game 6 classic. Noah’s thoughts on this series? Hell, it might be like Forrest Gump breaking down Vietnam. So the big guy first looked for his mother in the crowd, then leaned into the radio host to hear the question and then paused to consider some words. Finally he just sat on the scorer’s table and settled on howling into the microphone. It was a primal scream. The place went nuts.”

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler NBAE/Getty Images)

2 Responses to “Bulls-Celtics Links”

  1. mookie Says:

    What an epic series it has been and it doesn’t come any better than that game!! An instant classic!!

  2. The greatest first-round playoff series ever? | the world beyond recruiting Says:

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