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Unlike the first meeting in Chicago, bench players Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa had little to celebrate on Tuesday.As much as the Chicago Bulls deserve credit for their efforts down low in Tuesday's 100-89 victory over the Celtics -- they outscored Boston 48-36 in the paint, out-rebounded the C's 43-35, and doubled Boston up in second chance points, 16-8 -- they also excelled at taking Jason Terry, along with Boston's bench as a whole, out of the game.
Terry, who had scored in double-figures in three straight games, put in a season-low two points Tuesday night on just two field goal attempts. Bulls head coach (and former Celtics defensive guru) Tom Thibodeau knew he wanted to take Terry out of the equation early, and Chicago was quick to blitz Terry off of pick-and-rolls, and otherwise cancel out any free space so Terry couldn't get quality looks at the basket.
The offensive boost Terry is more than capable of providing was sorely missed, especially late in the third quarter when Boston trimmed what had been a double-digit Chicago lead down to just three. But rather than push forward and take the lead, Boston broke down defensively (Kevin Garnett was off the floor at this point) and watched as Chicago rattled off a 9-3 run to end the frame and carry a nine-point edge into the fourth quarter.
Chicago's defense certainly deserves credit for Terry's ineffective night, but the Celtics bear plenty of responsibility for not getting Terry enough looks at the rim. No matter the circumstances of the game, Terry should never end his night with just two field goal attempts. The Celtics can never afford to have Terry get taken out of the game the way he was against the Bulls, particularly on a night when the rest of the bench was equally unproductive.
Chicago's reserves outscored their Boston counterparts 37-16 Tuesday night, with Nate Robinson alone outscoring the Boston bench with 18 points. In many ways, the shots Robinson was hitting -- including the long 3-pointers -- were the types of looks Terry needed to be taking to help the Celtics get back in the game.
In games like Tuesday's, the Celtics can't be afraid to run more designed plays for Terry. Rather than relying on him being opportunistic and knocking down open looks off of players like Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce attacking the basket and openings things up a bit, the C's can have Terry come off of more down screens for better looks, or even have him attack the basket to get easier shots and develop a rhythm before extending his game out to the 3-point line. Terry's only basket last night was a difficult floater in the lane that rattled in.
The Celtics know they have plenty of things to work on as they seek to right the ship and snap what has become an ugly three-game losing streak. Getting Terry involved consistently on the offensive end shouldn't have to be one of them.