In Which Our Story Is Not Quite Over: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls, Game 6

Let’s all just take a moment and be thankful for a world where we get to enjoy games of sport like that. Let’s just take a brief second and recognize that in a time of despair, uncertainty, and fear, we can all find something to distract ourselves that is both inspiring and freaking awesome.


Let us begin with Brad Miller.

  • I have ragged on Brad Miller from start to finish in this series. Dumb passes. Ill timed shots. Uncertainty on whether to drive or shoot, and he often ended up doing what felt like the opposite of the right decision.
  • And tonight, he redeemed all of it.  I cannot overstress the brilliance of Brad Miller tonight. Instead of the 18 footers, he stepped back and drained threes. Smart passes. And when he needed to, when he really needed to? He drove to the basket and scored. Brad Miller tonight was representative of something brilliantly human. I’m being overdramatic, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes over-dramaticism has its place. And Brad Miller, after having failed on the biggest stage, with the world watching, redeemed himself tonight.
  • Every time those free throws hit, I was so incredibly happy for the guy. Me. The hate machine. It’s just so rare that people get chances to make up for those kinds of mistakes. And now no matter what happens, this series will most likely end with Brad Miller as the unsung hero of Game 6. And that’s just a good story.
  • Tom Ziller, via email: “How do you block a fadeaway?Oh. OK, thanks for the lesson, D.”
  • For the Celtics, I mean, I guess you can only say “There are only so many last second daggers in the barrel, and we ran out of them.” No reason they can’t reload, but they had chances, tons and tons and tons of chances, and just couldn’t get them to drop. Their execution was cleaner, their rotations smarter (good job for once, Doc), their savvy razor sharp.
  • Chicago wanted it more.
  • From the way they spread the ball, to the drive and kick, to the clutch free throws, to Noah winning two of the overtime tips, to Noah stealing the ball from the Truth and jamming it and-one, to Hinrich’s defense, to Salmons disregarding all notion of an offense (Ben Gordon is his puppet master) and knocking down ridiculous shots. They just wanted it more.
  • Hinrich missed the free throw. And that was bad. Very bad. Terribly bad. If they lost that game, he would have had to go into a monastary. Can’t you see him in a robe, asking for forgiveness?
  • Of course, Rondo touched it in the cylinder. It certainly looked like he did.
  • But Hinrich also shot too much. With Gordon in foul trouble, Hinrich tried to take the shots that were given him. And eleven shots were too many. Not by a lot, but a little. Seven assists aint’ a bad night, though.
  • Hinrich’s defense, though? Terrific. He got scored on a few times, but they were things like Paul Pierce being the Truth, or Allen off ten screens. He also kept his spacing,grabbed two steals, and played tough against extremely good players.
  • Glen Davis deserves some money. He melted down in the third overtime, but men that large aren’t really supposed to exercise for that long.
  • Rose has unbelievably extension. He jumps from a foot past the elbow for his up and under. Athleticism>savvy sometimes.
  • Ray Allen scored 51 points and the Celtics lost. You have an offensively limited team.
  • Trey texted and noted that Brad Miller celebrated like he’d never celebrated and had always watched other celebrate.
  • After the Miller three with a minute left, on the ensuing possession, Miller gets stuck off a trap on Pierce and is guarding two men. He’s splitting between Rondo and Perkins, and is swaying his body trying to guard both of them. AND IT WORKS. Tony Allen takes a runner, because, you know, that’s his wheelhouse. Ensuing possession, Miller drives and hits the layin to tie. Juevos, muchachos.
  • Vinny. What. Seriously. What. What has to happen for you to foul up three? Does the Lord God Hisownself have to come down and emblazen it on your forehead?
  • Pierce had a look on his face this whole game that wasn’t “I’m going to go out and get this.” It was “I will get through this.” Even when he hit the big shot and started yelling and jumping, it held an air of “Finally!’ And the longer this thing goes, the more it takes out of him.
  • Will either team have anything left for Round 2? The Magic now get two more days rest.
  • Who cares. MORE.
  • There were two foul calls that were tremendously helpful for the Bulls. Perkins picking up his sixth. Forcing Scal into the game was a dream. These playoffs have been interesting because both Scalabrine and Bonner have been exposed.  All the “No, they’re really pretty good!” talk has been buried in quagmire.
  • The second was Ben Gordon fouling out. I had such high hopes at the end of regulation for VDN to have something, anything other than “Give it to Gordon and let him do something wild!” The Possession Terminator T-BG was in full effect late in this game.
  • I’ll say this for Salmons. He had the Ben Gordon “No no no no noYES!” thing going on, but he also drove, something that’s bugging me about the big shot takers in this series. Yes, the internal defense is good. But you’re stars. Go get yours! Salmons forced the issue, got in the lane, and finished. Salmons has improved during this series.
  • The rebounding in overtime for the Bulls was huge. Miller and Noah were crashing, grabbing, and instead of taking them for granted, swinging their body to get loose. That’s the kind of rebounding that wins you games, and it helped the Bulls win this one.
  • Joakim Noah was freaking everywhere. Kid’s got no quit. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. You put him on the floor, and it’s scramble for every loose ball, then sprint back on defense, challenge every shot, even if you can’t get there, defend every play even if you get posterized, and oh yeah, when there’s nothing left? Steal it from the Finals MVP and jam it.
  • Pop Quiz. When did Pierce get his third foul? 2:17 in Overtime. And he fouled out.
  • That’s a crazy breakdown of energy and concentration.
  • I laughed in the NBA FanHouse Podcast at Rajon Rondo being a max money guy. I do not laugh at him deserving more money than many, many, many players. He’s growing into being able to use his gifts to their fullest ability.  And trying to counterattack is like jousting with the Cereberus.
  • As far as Rondo’s little twist and shove, it’s well within the NBA’s rights to suspend him. But I honestly hope they don’t. We deserve to see these two squads go at it in Game Seven with what was on the floor tonight. Maybe with Garnett it would have been a sweep, but with what we have, it’s worth keeping.
  • I kind of wish I had an entire gallery of Tommy Heinsohn pictures in this game. I would make a Master Finder slide reel out of those pictures.
  • NBA: I’m begging you. Put this game on iTunes, or YouTube,or TNT for download, or something. I’m asking bloggers across the web. Back me on this. They should be able to work out a deal with iTunes. Put this thing online so we can preserve it, rewatch it, relive it. It’s worthy of it. This is not just another game. If you don’t believe me, take the word of a guy who’ve I seen write “I’m not really surprised” about seven million times in the last two weeks.
  • Kevin Harlan is the best basketball announcer in the NBA. It’s not close in my opinion. He manages to point out relevant things, keep pace, and deliver excitement. Kevin Harlan has been brilliant, and if you’ve got a color man, you can do worse than Doug Collins.
  • What’s really bizarre when you look at the numbers? Boston’s defense kind of sucked this game. They allowed 59 points in the first half and the Bulls shot 50% from the field. This was a knock ’em out game for the Celtics, and they did not clamp down.
  • Dear Boston. Please take one step back and shoot.
  • Surely now we’ll just see a celebration of both teams as both sides should be in a constant state of ovation for both their team and their opponent’s resilience and determination. Oh. Yeah. Power to the people! Stop the anti-#2-Market-in-the-NBA clearly biased officiating that both punishes and benefits our side!
  • On the flip side, there are some that have learned to appreciate this team that WILL NOT DIE.
  • There were flashes that VDN was learning tonight. Trapping Pierce, drawing up smart plays, etc. If he learns to foul when up three and to guard Ray Allen at any cost, he might not get a D in this series.
  • All this, all this drama, all this intensity, all this brilliance, all this heartbreak, all this intensity.
  • And we get Game Seven.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.