Butler added eight rebounds and eight assists.
Jimmy Butler again led the way for the eighth-seeded Bulls with 22 points, with some help from Robin Lopez (18 points, 8 rebounds) and a rejuvenated Dwyane Wade (22 points) and Rajon Rondo (11 points, 14 assists).
"Everybody's putting in each work, watching film, working on their game", Butler said. Undoubtedly. But after two games, it's the players who have stepped up from the margins who have made the biggest difference for Chicago.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 20 points while Jae Crowder chipped in with 16.
If they are going to come out of Boston with a 2-0 series lead, then they are going to have to replicate what they did in the series opener.
Speaking during Cleveland's shootaround ahead of their Game 2 against IN on Monday, James expressed sympathy for Thomas's situation. The top-seeded Celtics will have a couple days before Game 3 to regroup as they plan how to dig out of a 2-0 series hole.
That changed quickly, though, as the Bulls responded with a 20-4 run. Last year, he was allowed to miss a game to be at the bedside of Andrew Smith, who played for Stevens at Butler. "I felt like our guys really dealt with it the right way".
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"We're playing on Friday". But just to give them a different look, if you get their offense out a little further, if it takes a little bit more time off the clock, all those things help. Bobby Portis struggled after a huge Game 1, but Paul Zipser stepped up with an outstanding performance in his stead.
The Bulls have been moving the ball incredibly well in the first two games. Scored 46 points in the first half of both Games 1 and 2. "Game 3 is a must-win for us", added Al Horford, in the post-game press conference.
"We don't have home-court advantage, so we had to get one here if we want to win this series", Wade said. That has to be weighing heavy on not only the Boston leader but also the entire Celtic team.
His coach Brad Stevens gave Thomas the option of playing or missing the first game or two of the playoffs to be with his family. But Bradley said while the team continues to grieve for him, it can't be a distraction when they are on the court.
"I mean, you're not going to slow down Isaiah Thomas".
That's an unacceptable number for any team, much less one that boasts three centers above 6-foot-10 and Amir Johnson, a 6-foot-9 bruiser who frequently plays the 5. Boston is 53-30 overall, 30-12 at home and 40-41-2 against the spread.
The Chicago Bulls needed a 7-3 finish and a tiebreaker just to get into the National Basketball Association playoffs as an eighth seed.