The Celtics dominated the first quarter tonight, shooting 62 percent on their way to a 31-19 lead. After a rough second quarter, the Celtics came out firing after halftime, hitting 56 percent of their shots to outscore the Bulls by 10. Each time, the Celtics’ starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O’Neal was instrumental in the run. That group wasn’t supposed to be the team’s starting unit, and it may not be when Kendrick Perkins returns from injury. But for now the starters are playing exceptionally well as a unit.
“We’re moving the ball well, playing unselfish, looking for each other,” said O’Neal. “That was the main reason I wanted to come here.”
The Celtics had assists on 17 of their 27 shots in the first and third quarters. Rondo did most of his damage in the third, putting up 10 points and 6 assists.
“For me the formula has always been to stay dominant at home,” said O’Neal. “Beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, and stay above .500 on the road. We want to stay dominant at home.”
“Semih’s a guy that has it hard,” said O’Neal. “Sometimes he has to come in second or third quarter and he’s kind of stiff. Once he gets loose he can play. As long as he gets repetition out there.”
“I thought he was actually hurt pretty bad, actually,” said Doc Rivers. “I thought he tweaked his knee, so I was — when he bounced up — I was happy about it. We can’t wait for injuries; we’ve just got to keep playing. Guys are going to be okay; we’ve just got to get through this stretch. You know, it’s a tough little stretch. The fact that we’re winning games is really good for us.”