You'd think the effect of a 21-point defeat at the hands of the Celtics at the United Center last Thursday would linger with the Chicago Bulls for what looked like a one-sided matchup.
But it didn't.
On Sunday, the Bulls proved to be on a mission to show that the Game 1 victory and close Game 2 matchup were no flukes. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon seemed to be the forerunners to prove that point.
After entering the fourth quarter down five, the Bulls outscored Boston 31-23 going into the final 10 seconds of regulation. Then they allowed Ray Allen to get possession of the ball with Boston down three in those final seconds.
Anyone could guess how that went for Chicago.
After Allen sent that dagger of a three-pointer into the hearts of Bulls fans yet again, madness ensued and one of the most entertaining games of these NBA playoffs was born.
The Bulls went down early in the first overtime and found themselves in the same position Boston was not long before, down three with the clock ticking.
Substitute Ben Gordon for Ray Allen and you've painted a pretty good picture of how the first overtime ended. Gordon hit an unbelievable, off-balanced three-pointer as payback to Allen for the hurt his three-pointers have put on Chicago this series.
Add some tremendous non-rookie caliber play out of Derrick Rose and it was a beautiful and memorable day for Bulls fans everywhere.
The Bulls pulled away, and by pulled away I mean kept a steady three- to five-point lead throughout the second overtime, and ended up winning 118-121.
In Boston's favor, Rajon Rondo put up yet another triple-double, and Allen and Pierce, along with Rondo, all scored over 20 points.
The Bulls spread the ball around nicely with every player, aside from Lindsey Hunter who saw minutes, scoring in double figures. Rose led the way with 23 and Gordon complemented that with 22 of his own.
With the series now tied 2-2, both teams have an opportunity to play at home in the next two games to try to take the series. If neither comes through, we'll see an undoubtedly exciting finale to this series in Boston next Saturday.
The buzz around the NBA is this series between Chicago and Boston is the best matchup in the playoffs so far, and deservedly so.
Sure, the Bulls were embarrassed by Boston last Thursday. But on Sunday, they proved this is no time for anyone to take their eyes off this series.
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