Sunday, April 18 – Bulls at Celtics
Pregame – C’s Look to ‘Hit First’ on Glass in Game 2
BOSTON – It’s no secret that rebounding was Boston’s major issue during Game 1 Sunday night, as it fell narrowly to Chicago, 106-102.
The Bulls used their size and physicality to their benefit, grabbing a 65-44 advantage on the boards while tallying 23 second-chance points.
Size is a battle that Boston cannot win in this series, but physicality is an aspect that they can certainly improve upon.
Coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday night before Game 2 that he emphasized to his team that they need to give more effort on the glass by “hitting early.”
“By hitting early, I just mean if two bodies are coming together on a rebound, whichever hits first usually has the advantage,” Stevens elaborated ahead of the 8 p.m. tip-off. “We need to hit first. And I thought we actually did that a couple of times (Sunday night), but they got the ball because of the bounce or their length or whatever the case may be.
“But I do think there were a lot of occasions where we gotta do it better,” the coach continued. “This was the team that we struggled with this the most during the regular season, and it’s going to be a huge, huge part of the series for us.”
The Celtics struggled mostly on the defensive glass during Game 1. Chicago grabbed 20 offensive boards on the night, which accounted for an incredible 45.5 percent of all rebounds on that end. Robin Lopez was unstoppable in that area, as he corralled eight offensive boards.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they actually saw great improvement on that end as Sunday’s game went on. Boston didn’t allow a single offensive rebound during the fourth quarter, and gave up just four offensive boards in total during the second half.
That being said, if the C’s hope to even up the series Tuesday night, they will need to have a more well-rounded effort on the glass from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
“It’s No. 1 on the things of things to do,” said Stevens. “Everybody knows that. We all know that. [The Bulls] did a good job getting to the ball. They did a great job of getting to our bodies. They were very physical. And we need to do a better job of not only hitting, but getting all five guys pursuing the ball.”
Beating the Bulls on the boards isn’t an impossible task for Boston. The C’s outrebounded Chicago, 51-40 during their 100-80 win on March 12. If Boston can channel that effort tonight, it should have a great chance of capturing Game 2 and evening up the series.
– Taylor C. Snow