Until now, it had been a strange series with the road teams winning all of the games. However, the Boston Celtics changed that trend in Game 5, beating the Chicago Bulls to take a 3-2 series lead. Coming in, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo had the desire to play but was unable to overcome the thumb injury and had to sit for the third consecutive game.

A sloppy first quarter

Both teams started out a bit sluggish, missing many shots and playing sloppy basketball. The Celtics were firing up too many threes and were not connecting, while the Bulls were not executing too well. Since Rondo’s injury, Chicago’s offense has been mostly stale due to the limited ball movement.

Rondo was at least pushing the ball every chance he got and was finding easy offense in transition.

Evenly played first half

The first half was evenly played, with neither team able to create any separation. While Isaiah Thomas was struggling in the first half, Avery Bradley picked up the slack, posting 17 points and four rebounds. Kelly Olynyk was huge off the bench as well, producing 11 points in the first half and providing tremendous energy.

It was insane that Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Al Horford had a combined three field goals in the first half, yet the Celtics were up by two. Dwyane Wade was the catalyst for the Bulls, leading the way with 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Jimmy Butler was slumping.

Third quarter intensity

The intensity picked up in the third quarter, as did the offense for both teams. In a back-and-forth affair, Chicago took a two-point lead after Butler drilled a deep fadeaway three-point jumper to beat the buzzer.

Thomas was still in a funk, scoring just 13 points by the end of the third period.

But, as we all know, he usually comes alive in the fourth quarter for the Celtics.

Thomas and Horford lead the Celtics to victory

Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford erupted in the final period, combining to score 22 of the team’s 29 points in the final period. The difference was Thomas’ aggression, as he continuously was driving to the basket and drawing fouls.

The Celtics outscored the Bulls, 29-16, in the fourth to win, 108-97.

Thomas finished with 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Horford posted 21 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting. Bradley also put up 24 points and six rebounds. The Celtics were a plus-nine from the free-throw line, shooting an incredible 23-for-23 from the stripe.

For the Bulls, Dwyane Wade led the way with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. Jimmy Butler concluded with just 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Robin Lopez had a terrific game, pushing in 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Unfortunately, the Bulls are now 0-3 since Rondo’s thumb injury and will head back home facing elimination.

Game 6 will be on Friday at 8 pm Eastern Time, televised nationally on ESPN.

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