The Celtics suffered their second straight road loss on Saturday night, falling 126-116 to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in the team’s fourth-worst defensive performance of the season.
Defensively the Celtics had no answer for the Bulls’ Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen, who scored 42 and 35 points, respectively. Markkanen added 15 rebounds while LaVine went 5-for-11 from three-point range.
Al Horford led the way for the Celtics in the first quarter, scoring 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting as the C’s finished the first frame with a 33-28 lead. The Celtics opened the game on a 7-0 run before the Bulls came back and the teams battled to a 15-15 stalemate.
Horford is on a roll to start this one! pic.twitter.com/yoL9wBqgw8— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 24, 2019
Chicago roared back into the lead with a 10-0 run to start the second quarter, getting points from four different players and forcing a Brad Stevens timeout as they opened a 38-33 lead. The timeout didn’t work for the C’s, who only fell further behind as the Bulls went up by as much as 15 points before taking a 64-51 lead to halftime.
Kyrie Irving had a better first half than he did on Thursday in Milwaukee, scoring 15 points (6-for-12 shooting) to go with five assists, including this nifty feed to Jayson Tatum:
Tatum cuts to the basket and Irving finds him for the jam! pic.twitter.com/hn70QjT9F3— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 24, 2019
The Bulls stayed consistent as they took a 94-81 lead into the fourth quarter. Markkanen finished strong with 13 points in the final 12 minutes. Irving also closed well for the C’s as he totaled 37 points of his own, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the prolific scoring of Markkanen and LaVine.
Boston’s loss is especially ugly considering the lowly Bulls (13th in the Eastern Conference) earned just their 16th win of the season.
Up Next: It doesn’t get any easier for the Celtics, who head to Toronto on Tuesday night to take on the Raptors.
Click here for all Celtics/NBA updates from 98.5 The Sports Hub.