Don't Make Excuses, Celtics: The Bulls Were Better

Josep Vernet-RieraCorrespondent IApril 19, 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)

Now that Game One of the Celtics-Bulls first-round series is over, people only want to talk about KG's absence this, KG's absence that.

And that just sickens me.

Yes, with KG the game would have been different.

Yes, I know that Boston with Garnett would have been more dominant.

Yes, I also know that "Big Ticket" is the leader of the C's.

Still, all of this is just a big excuse. Why can't people admit the the Bulls deserved to win this one.

I mean, that's the truth.

Let's face it: Rose treated the Celtics like a bunch of high school kids. He did whatever he wanted to them, and don't tell me that with KG on the court, Rose would have been less dominant. Garnett is not a guard, and he's not God, so he's not everywhere.

He was riding pine last night.

The former Memphis star got 36 points, 11 assists, and four boards despite being guarded by Rajon Rondo and followed by future HOFers Allen and Pierce.

Isn't that enough? A rookie dominating the champions?

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By the way: Last night, Rose matched the record for most points scored by a rookie in his first Playoff game, a mark previously held solely by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Stellar performance, don't you think?

And that wasn't the only thing about the Bulls that looked good.

Noah got a double-double, too. The energetic center went for 11 points and 17 rebounds, and Ben Gordon went on another scoring spree of 20 points, though he was only 6-of-17 from the floor.

The foward duo was solid, as Tyrus Thomas got six rebounds and 16 points, and Salmons nabbed six boards and 12 points. Brad Miller also did a great job on the glass, finishing with 12 rebounds.

Yes, the rebounding stats would have been quite different if KG had been on the floor. Well, he wasn't.

This loss shows us two things about the Bulls:

  1. Derrick Rose is the man that is going to lead them in the postseason.
  2. They're a young squad yet have incredible maturity.

With regards to point one, Rose was great when he had to be great. In the third quarter, he exploded for 13 points, resulting in a 28-18 advantage for Chicago in that period.

And concerning point two, when the Bulls were trailing, they remained calm and showed how mature they are in OT. After all, to win an overtime period, you need to keep your head cool.

There were several ways in which the Celtics were completely exposed in this game:

  1. It was shown that Doc Rivers isn't a basketball genius, as many of you had thought. He said that the staff had focused on transition defense, but in the game they focused on transition disaster. The first point was a nice alley-oop to Noah on the fastbreak. When you have two All-Stars, there's no excuse for not beating a team composed of young, inexperienced players.
  2. Ray Allen is not a fantastic player. Last year, he wasn't that bright of a spot in the postseason, yet his mistakes were covered by the brilliance of KG and an explosive Pierce. This year, there's no Garnett, and Allen's lack of precision (evident in 1-of-12 shooting) shows us that he's not HOF material.
  3. Pierce is not that much of a leader. Let's face it, Paul is just the guy that has been playing with this club for the longest period, and still he can't lead a squad.
  4. Rondo had to do almost all of the work: He posted 29 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
  5. Boston has no consistency to its game. They missed their shots over and over again: Pierce went for 8-for-21, Allen shot that aforementioned 1-for-12, and Eddite House was 2-for-8. These guys have to improve if Boston wants to get back on track. Allen is the shooter in that team, so he has to be more accurate. Pierce is their go-to guy, so he has to step up, and House is the guy that maintains the lead when the starters are out.

Still, after all this, I bet you're tempted to say:

"Well, if the C's improve these stats, then they'll have the series."

Not so fast! The Bulls weren't totally brilliant, either; if they play any better, Boston's task will become even tougher.

Miller was 1-for-12, Tim Thomas got one of five shots to go in, and Hinrich was 1-for-4. And Gordon was 6-for-17 and Salmons 6-for-16! These guys can do much better.

So don't credit the Chicago "upset" just to Garnett's absence. Blame Pierce's inefectiveness and Allen's practical nonexistence if you don't want to recognize that the Bulls smacked the defending champs.

If you actually saw the game, you ought to simply say it:

Rose taught two All-Stars a lesson yesterday.