BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum recorded the first triple-double of his NBA career Monday night, but it coincided with both his worst shooting night of the season and the end of Boston's six-game winning streak.
While Tatum finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a 102-96 loss to the Chicago Bulls, he shot just 3-for-17 (17.6 percent) from the field -- the first time he shot below 20 percent in a game this season -- as the Celtics failed to make yet another fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Bulls.
"I wasn't scoring like I normally do, so I was just trying to impact the game as much as I could in other ways to try to help us get a win tonight," Tatum said. "Had too many turnovers, obviously didn't shoot well. Just a tough night.
"One of the nights you wish you could have back."
On a night when Boston was without four key players -- Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart due to a non-COVID illness, Robert Williams with a knee issue and Evan Fournier remaining in the league's health and safety protocols -- the Celtics were heavily reliant on Tatum and Jaylen Brown to carry them offensively.
And while Tatum didn't come close to matching Brown's 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting, he did have one of his best passing games of the season, including a couple of spectacular alley-oop passes on separate occasions to Brown and Jabari Parker for fast-break buckets.
Ultimately, though, the Celtics were doomed by being outscored by a combined 34-11 margin in second-chance points (18-4) and points off turnovers (16-7) by the Bulls, who have now won two straight games after losing 11 of their previous 14.
Boston also struggled to contain Bulls center Nikola Vucevic, as the All-Star had 29 points and nine rebounds, including four of the team's nine offensive boards on the night.
"I thought their length affected us defensively," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "We didn't have much threat at the rim tonight. I thought we tried to get there, but it was pretty jammed up, as you saw. And we struggled to finish when we did get there. They deserve a lot of credit. They impacted us on our drives big time.
"Our guys fought. [We] gave ourselves a chance."
After Boston came back from double-digit deficits to beat the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors last week, the Celtics were the ones who led by 12 early in this game, only to eventually fall behind by eight after three quarters.
The Celtics made a late push, including tying the game at 90 with 3:25 remaining on a Brown 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining, before the Bulls immediately responded with six straight points to retake a lead they would never relinquish.
"We missed some shots that we usually make on that stretch they went on," said rookie Payton Pritchard, who started at point guard in place of Walker and scored 14 points in 31 minutes. "Obviously, they're really physical inside, which makes it tough [for] us, defensively, having to come down and help or something like that. They're definitely very physical inside."