BOSTON – The Chicago Bulls talked often during the regular season about believing they had the personnel to play as a physically imposing team.
Their output has caught up to those desires so far during the postseason.
Jimmy Butler scored 22 points, Rajon Rondo finished one rebound shy of a triple-double and the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics, 111-97, on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their series against the No. 1 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference.
While some might be shocked by how Chicago has played as a No. 8 seed that was just 41-41, Butler made it clear he’s not one of those folks.
“I’m not surprised because everybody’s so locked in right now,” said Butler, who added eight rebounds and eight assists.
Rondo had 11 points and 14 assists on a night when all five Bulls starters reached double figures. Dwyane Wade had 22 points, including 16 in the second half, and Robin Lopez added 18 points and eight points.
“Everybody’s putting in each work, watching film, working on their game,” Butler said. “That’s where your confidence always comes from.”
The Bulls host Game 3 on Friday.
In other matches, the Los Angeles Clippers stopped the Utah Jazz, 99-91, in LA while the Toronto Raptors held off the Milwaukee Bucks, 106-100, in Toronto to even their respective series at one game apiece.
Blake Griffin led a smash-mouth revival of Lob City with 24 points, DeAndre Jordan finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 21 points and 10 assists for the Clippers, who crushed the Jazz in the paint, 60-38.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points. Joe Johnson, whose floater at the buzzer gave them a two-point win in game one, added 13 points off the bench.
The Jazz never led in the game. and got no closer than six points in the fourth.