Brad Stevens once again proved he’s one of the brightest minds in the NBA today. The Boston Celtics head coach helped his team pulled within 2-1 in their best-of-seven first-round series with the Chicago Bulls by maximizing his team’s versatility.

Celtics' Super Small Ball

After seeing his team manhandled by the Bulls in the battle for the boards in Game 1 and Game 2, Stevens took a page from Steve Kerr’s playbook and took the term ‘small ball’ to a whole new level. Instead of adding size to his starting lineup, the fourth-year coach inserted Gerald Green at the small forward spot and moved Jae Crowder to power forward.

Stevens’ gamble paid off as the Celtics became a lot more unpredictable on offensive and flexible on defense. All of a sudden, Boston has five 3-point threats on the court, allowing penetrator Isaiah Thomas to razzle and dazzle though the Bulls’ porous defense.

Thomas finished the game with 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting with nine assists. Al Horford bounced back from lackluster performances in the first two games, as he chipped in 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes of action. Perhaps the most important stat of the night was the 17 three-pointers made by the Celtics. Boston struggled from beyond the arc at home (under 35 percent) before finding their mark on 17-for-37 clip (45.9 percent) at the United Center in Game 3.

“With Green, Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Al Horford, the Celtics have five players you have to guard at the 3-point line, and the Bulls simply weren't prepared for that adjustment,” Fox Sports NBA writer Andrew Lynch pointed out in his analysis of the game.

Rajon Rondo injury update:

Rondo, who averaged at least 11 points, ten assists, eight rebounds and three assists in the series, will likely miss a couple of weeks before getting re-evaluated with a fractured right thumb.

Rondo was the difference-maker for Chicago in the first two games of the first-round playoff match by creating open shots with his pin-point passing and dictating the pace of the game. He also provided mismatch problems for a much smaller Thomas in their head-to-head showdown.

With Rondo sitting on the bench, the pressure will be on second-year guard Jerian Grant, Michael Carter-Williams and Jimmy Butler to orchestrate the team’s offense properly. Cameron Payne, the Bulls’ acquisition in the mid-season trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, has been listed active for the succeeding games.