So far, this Celtics/Bulls series has run six games; four went to overtime for a total of seven extra periods. It was the only playoff series ever to have three overtime games, and now that it’s gone to four, I’m starting to wonder if this is the best first round series in the history of the league. It’s certainly the best one that I can remember.
As a longtime Bucks fans, I found it hard at first to root for the Bulls, but I’m really starting to like this team. Joakim Noah plays with exceptional energy and passion, Kirk Hinrich does all the little things in the Chicago backcourt, John Salmons is an up-and-coming swingman, and Derrick Rose is one of the most dynamic players in the entire league.
There were so many great performances tonight. Salmons had 35 points, and broke down Paul Pierce every chance he had. Rose had 28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and a huge block on Rajon Rondo’s go-ahead attempt in the waning seconds of the final overtime. Brad Miller bounced back from missing game-tying free throws (and nearly having his head removed from his body) in Game 5 to post 23 points, including two huge buckets — a three and a driving layup — at the end of regulation to bring the Bulls back from the dead. Noah had nine points and 15 rebounds, and had a monster steal that he turned into a three-point play (fouling Pierce out in the process) with less than a minute to go in the third overtime.
Ray Allen carried the Celtics for much of the game, finishing with 51 points on 18 for 32 shooting. Pierce and Rondo combined to shoot just 9 of 30 from the field, but Pierce made 11 free throws and Rondo dropped 19 dimes. The C’s wouldn’t have stayed in it without Glen Davis, who chipped in 23 points.
The series moves back to Boston for Game 7 on Saturday.