Bulls-Celtics: Game Six, Where John Salmons Finally Happens

Aren DowCorrespondent IMay 1, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 26: John Salmons #15 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot past Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 26, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 121-118 in double overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

John Salmons had become nothing more than an afterthought for the first five games on the Bulls-Celtics series.

It was disheartening for Bulls fans. Since the trade for Salmons and Brad Miller, the Bulls had found new life.

They not only fought they way into the playoffs, but were contending for the sixth seed in the playoffs.

Salmons was not only a big reason for the resurgence—he was playing at a superstar level.

In March, he averaged a .500 field-goal percentage, .435 three-point percentage, and an .880 free-throw percentage.

Yeah, it was downright amazing.

Now the Bulls not only had Gordon as a scorer, but with Rose developing as a slasher, Salmons provided a third option. It was something Bulls fans had seen with Luol Deng several years ago in the playoff series against the Heat.

It was something they sorely needed.

Then, just as suddenly as he appeared, Salmons had a disappearing act in the Celtics series. The Bulls had to rely on the rookie Rose, less of a scorer and more of a passer, and Gordon, a maddeningly streaky shooter.

Salmons shot 37 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arch, in the first five games.

The Bulls had lost their versatility.

Finally, Salmons showed up in game six scoring 35 points. His five three-pointers and 60 minutes of play were huge for the Bulls. He scored from inside and outside, finally stepping up for Chicago.

Rajon Rondo is a Punk

I thought about just having that headline, and no copy. I really think it would have worked.

The title is self explanatory, Rajon Rondo is classless. The worst part?

The league lets him get away with it.

Is this series alone, he has tripped Kirk Hinrich, slammed Miller across the face, and now has nearly thrown Hinrich into the stands in Game Six. There is a difference between playing tough and playing dirty. Rondo has jumped said line.

Both on the first Hinrich incident and the Miller foul, Rajon Rondo wasn't even trying to touch the ball. He was trying to inflict damage any way he could.

It was especially telling when Rondo smacked Miller. Miller had the ball about four feet from his face, nowhere near where Rondo's hand was. It was in intentional, dirty, and clearly a flagrant foul.

If you read Bill Simmons' article about this series, you know how much he hates Joakim Noah. Speaking of which, I bet Simmons loved Noah's dunk to foul out Pierce. I know I did.

I have the exact same feelings about Rondo. He has this smug, arrogant look like he is the best player in the game.

The problem is that he plays with all of the confidence that Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen have, and none of the humility. Rondo acts as though he has been in the league for years and deserves better.

Are we sure Spike Lee isn't filming a new movie?

This series is surreal. The fact that it just keeps getting better is amazing. Did anyone think this wouldn't go to Game Seven? I mean, it just wouldn't feel right if we somehow stopped short at six.

There have been more story lines in this series than the rest of the NBA playoffs combined. It is almost unfathomable, but we have forgotten about LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Derrick Rose's arrival in Game One, Pierce/Allen and Gordon trading incredible shots, Ray Allen game-winning shot in Game Two, and now Game Six's three-overtime marathon have left me exhausted.

Hell, Kevin Garnett's sidelines antics have drawn more attention than Rockets-Blazers series.

Seriously, the biggest story besides this was Dwight Howard getting suspended one game for a thrown elbow. That story died once the Magic won, and Bulls-Celtics jumped eight more levels of excitement.

Keys to Game Seven

The Bulls need to limit their turnovers. There are times Rose looks like a confident, able point guard. Then there are the moments where he looks like a lost rookie. If Rose can limit his turnovers (he has 32 this series), the Bulls can continue to be competitive.

Tyrus Thomas needs to build upon his impressive end of the regular season. Thomas, who was a cranking out a double-double nearly every other game near the end of the season, hasn't been a factor this series. He has been mostly cold so far.

The Celtics need to take advantage with Pierce and Allen. Set screens to switch off an Rose, a smaller defender, and Gordon, a horrible defender. Vinny Del Negro finally double-teamed Pierce in overtime Thursday, but that is about it. Pierce and Allen need to exploit the Bulls when they only have one defender.

Time to take a nap and wake up Sunday night. 


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