Celtics vs. Bulls takeaways: C’s depth on display in decisive victory

Celtics vs. Bulls takeaways: C’s depth on display in decisive victory originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Three Key Storylines

  • Derrick White dominates on both ends

  • No answer for C’s stars

  • First look at the new guys

On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics picked up where they left off with a post-All-Star break win over the Chicago Bulls.

Boston looked well-rested out of the gate, leading by as many as 16 points in what was an impressive first quarter on both ends of the floor. It racked up six blocks — a season-high for a single quarter — while limiting Chicago to 23 points in the frame.

The Bulls answered with a 39-point second quarter that erased the Celtics lead and put them up three at the half. Fortunately for the C’s, Chicago had no answer for their efficient offense the rest of the way. They regained the lead early in the third and didn’t let off the gas from that point on as they went on to earn a 129-112 victory — their seventh consecutive win.

Derrick White dropped a game-high 28 points while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown added 25 and 21, respectively. Nikola Vucevic (22 points) and Coby White (20 points) led the Bulls in scoring.

Next, the Celtics (44-12) will head to New York for a Saturday night showdown with the Knicks (33-22) at Madison Square Garden. Before that matchup, here are three takeaways from Thursday’s game.

Derrick White dominates on both ends

Derrick White may have narrowly missed out on his first career All-Star nod, but he’s cruising toward his second consecutive All-Defensive selection.

White hosted a block party in the first quarter, swatting away three of Chicago’s shots including one of 6-foot-10 Nikola Vucevic’s attempts. That tied his career-high for blocks in a quarter.

The 29-year-old guard also led the way offensively with a team-high 12 points in the opening frame. According to Celtics stats guru Dick Lipe, he’s the only NBA player with at least three blocks and two 3-pointers in the first quarter of a game this season, and he accomplished the feat twice.

White ended up with a team-high 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He made five of his 10 3-pointers while totaling five assists, three blocks, two rebounds, and two steals.

If he continues on the trajectory he’s been on since joining the Celtics in 2022, voters will have no choice but to write White’s name on the All-Star ballot in 2025.

Pick your poison

Bulls guard Coby White said it best before Thursday’s matchup: “The players (the Celtics) have are really good. They’ve got a s–t ton of good players.”

Chicago simply couldn’t contain all of Boston’s stars at once. After White’s 12-point first quarter, it was Brown leading the C’s offensively with 14 in the second. Tatum helped get his team back on track in the third quarter with 15 points in the frame.

Brown tallied 21 points (7-12 FG, 3-5 3-PT) with 20 of them coming in the first half. Tatum finished with 25 points (8-17 FG, 5-10 3-PT) to go with seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

The Celtics shot 48.9 percent (23-for-47) from beyond the arc as a team. White, Brown, and Tatum played a key role in that success along with Payton Pritchard (9 points, 3-6 3-PT) and Sam Hauser (8 points, 2-2 3-PT).

Even big man Luke Kornet was a force for the C’s. The 7-footer racked up 10 points (5-6 FG) with four rebounds (all offensive), two assists, and a steal. He added insult to injury for Chicago with a hilarious “dab” celebration after his putback dunk.

You never know who is going to star for the Celtics not just on any given night, but any given quarter. That will make them difficult to stop on their quest for Banner 18.

When Kornet was done dabbing on the Bulls, head coach Joe Mazzulla gave big man Xavier Tillman — acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline — his first action in a Celtics uniform. Fellow deadline addition Jaden Springer also made his C’s debut with just over two minutes left in the game.

Tillman quickly got himself on the board with his first two Celtics points on a hard-fought layup. He also showcased his defensive talent with a block during his brief time on the court.

Springer’s first points as a Celtic will have to wait. A missed 3-pointer was the ex-Philadelphia 76ers guard’s lone shot attempt in his two minutes.

Both Tillman and Springer should get another chance to show how they’ll help the C’s down the stretch when they visit the Knicks on Saturday.

First appeared on sports.yahoo.com

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