Bulls Teach Defending Champ Celtics a Lesson

Mike PetragliaCorrespondent IApril 18, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 18:  John Salmons #15 of the Chicago Bulls nabs the loose ball from Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics as Derrick Rose #1 of the Bulls defends in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on April 18, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 105-103 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It was the underdog Chicago Bulls, with names like Rose, Thomas and Noah, who taught a lesson to the champion Celtics, with names like Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo, in the series' first game.

Bring your playoff intensity or else.

The else in game one was a 105-103 overtime loss at the hands of the Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

“I think we lost the game in the first half,” Allen said. “Just going down the way we went, we just allowed the team to do whatever, we weren’t really the aggressor starting the game, and they started rolling, they were comfortable and they did what they wanted to do.”

On Saturday, we really found out why Doc Rivers feared Derrick Rose all season. He diced up his defense to the tune of 36 points, matching Lew Alcindor’s mark on March 25, 1970 when he was with the Bucks.

Whether it was the emotion of the last two days with the Kevin Garnett and Danny Ainge news, or simply a team that was tired, the Celtics came out flat on Saturday; something that can’t happen again on Monday night.

“We didn’t talk about it much,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I hope that’s not what it was. It could be. I mean, who knows the emotions. You just think, first playoff game you’d be ready and up. And I just thought we kind of showed up and played the game. And then all of a sudden we got into a fight. And one thing I’d say about our guys, they join in. But at home you’re supposed to start it.”

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“It’s not acceptable, we’re all beside ourselves, you know, we’re angry, but at least we know where we stand, what we need to do,” said a sullen Ray Allen, who after shooting 1-for-12 from the floor, looked as dejected as he has in his two seasons in Boston.

Rajon Rondo’s playoff career high 29-point effort was in vain. When he got to the basket the Celtics were able to gain control of the game. When he didn’t, the Bulls took their opportunity and made the most of it.

“I’m going to get back, I’ll watch film tonight, see what I need to do better. And I’ll be fine Monday. Just right now I’m just extremely tired,” Rondo said.

It was interesting to listen to the answers of Rondo and Pierce to the question of whether Saturday was a wake-up call.

“We knew we were in a series,” Rondo said. “From the start, it’s not a wake up call. We didn’t play with a sense of urgency early in the start of the game, and gave them confidence. A young team coming into the playoffs you give them confidence and then they hung with us tough throughout the entire game and got the win.”

Pierce countered, “I hope this is a wake-up call. I hope we realize that the Bulls come to play but they’re not just a team that’s happy to be in the playoffs, they’re here to play so hopefully this was a wake-up and this is reality. Let’s pick up our play.”

Hard to believe the Celtics need to be reminded of the urgency of the situation, but it seemed to be the case after the loss.

“I can only speak for myself, so, I don’t know,” Rondo said. “We didn’t play as a team with a sense of urgency like we did last year, opening playoff game. Especially at home. We didn’t have any energy to start the game. We tried to pick it up but it was too late.”

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