First game of the season. First game for Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, and the first game for Jimmy Butler as the de-facto team leader. It all worked out. The Chicago Bulls (1-0) opened its season at the United Center with a new look and a fresh win over the stubborn Celtics (1-1), 105-99.
It may be Jimmy Butler’s team, and he scored 24 points to lead the Bulls, but all eyes were on Dwyane Wade, making his first start for his hometown team. Wade did not disappoint as he scored from inside and hit four treys, the most he had made in nearly four years. The last time he did it he was in his prime with the Heat.
The Celtics were down by as much as 15 points in the game but they kept coming back. The Bulls had just enough to hold them off. Isaiah Thomas had an excellent game for Boston, dropping 25 points. Guard Avery Bradley played well and netted 16 points.
The Bulls out-rebounded Boston 55-36 and had 18 offensive rebounds to Boston’s three. Chicago had a sizable advantage in second-chance points and that was one of the keys to the win. Taj Gibson scored 18 points in a good game in the low post. He can be a force in the paint and was effective last night.
Chicago started out hot but ended up shooting .391 from the field. However, the team made 11-25 three-point baskets. A strong showing from long distance. Chicago played with effort through out the game and was pretty much in control in the last 7 minutes of the fourth quarter. Nikola Mirotic added 15 points off the bench. Robin Lopez played his first game at center and scored eight points with eight rebounds, six coming on the offensive glass.
Michael Carter-Williams, who came to the Bulls in the late pre-season trade from Milwaukee, had a strong game in 17:10 of playing time. He showed his athleticism, in rebounding, and moves to the hoop. He will be a good addition to Chicago. I expect him to see more playing time as the season progresses.
Chicago needs to tighten up the defense. The Bulls challenged Boston near the basket and often came away with tips and rebounds enabling them to reset the offense. It is just one game but it was a good start to the season.
They will be an interesting team to watch.