Celtics vs. Bulls observations: C's allow too many second chances in loss

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Justin Leger
·3 min read
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Second chances and sloppiness cost C's vs. Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics saw their six-game win streak come to an end Monday night as they fell to the Chicago Bulls, 102-96.

The C's were shorthanded for the matchup as Kemba Walker (non-COVID illness), Marcus Smart (non-COVID illness), Robert Williams (left knee soreness), and Evan Fournier (health and safety protocols) were sidelined. Their absences were felt as Boston's offense couldn't gain any momentum after the first quarter and its defense didn't have much of an answer for Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic (29 points, nine rebounds). Coby White added 19 for Chicago and Thaddeus Young contributed 13 off the bench.

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Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 23 points on 10 of 15 shooting. Jayson Tatum notched his first career triple-double (14 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) and Payton Pritchard added 14 points of his own, but it wasn't enough to propel Boston to victory.

Here are three observations from the C's first loss since April 6.

Second chances and sloppiness killed the Celtics

The Celtics went on a 9-0 run to begin Monday night's matchup and it was mostly downhill from there. With four impact players out, Boston was sloppy on both ends of the floor throughout the game.

The Bulls had 18 second-chance points to the Celtics' four. They were able to bring down nine offensive boards while the C's were only able to notch three. Both teams struggled with turnovers (16 for Boston, 12 for Chicago), but the Bulls were able to capitalize on their opportunities with 16 points off turnovers to the C's seven.

Add in that fact Tatum's shots simply weren't falling (3-for-17 FG), and that was a recipe for a Bulls victory.

So far, so good for Jabari Parker

On the bright side for Boston, Jabari Parker looks like a fine addition to the second unit.

Through the 2014 second overall draft pick's first two games with the C's, he has 19 points and is a +11 in 32 minutes. On a night in which the Celtics needed their bench to step up, Parker came through with several notable plays on the offensive end.

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He finished with 11 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes Monday night. Time will tell whether Parker can be a legitimate difference-maker down the stretch for the Celtics -- and a lot of it will come down to whether he can stay healthy -- but so far he's looking like a low-risk, high-reward pickup.

Tremont Waters stepped up when called upon

Brad Stevens surprised everyone -- including Danny Ainge, who was on the NBC Sports Boston call with Brian Scalabrine -- by putting Tremont Waters in the starting point guard spot to begin the fourth quarter.

Give Waters credit, though. He did his part to keep the Celtics in the game and nearly led the comeback.

The 23-year-old reserve guard hit all three of his shot attempts, including a 3-pointer, to finish with nine points in eight minutes. With 16.5 seconds left in the game, he cut Chicago's lead to two with a clutch drive to the basket.

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Waters also made a nice defensive play late in the fourth to force a turnover. While his efforts didn't lead to a victory, he certainly provided a spark when the Celtics needed it.