Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Bulls' Rondo fined for attempting to trip Celtics' Crowder

Isaiah Thomas has endured a hard and emotional week following the recent death of his sister, but he has still managed to elevate his game in the play-offs. "They've been everything. This organization is the best organization there is".

Thomas, still mourning the death of his 22-year-old sister Chyna, scored a game-high 33 points with seven assists to lead the Celtics to a 104-95 win over the Bulls in Game 4 Sunday night in Chicago to pull Boston in a 2-2 tie as the series heads back to TD Garden for Game 5 Wednesday night.

"I just try to play the same way no matter who's out there on the floor (defensively)", he said.

"Thomas discussed his teammates' impact further: "[They] give me a lot of confidence. I've believed in trusting these guys all year long. "They believe in me, and being here is what makes me, I guess, sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through this tough time".

It has been an emotional whirlwind for Thomas, 28, over the past eight days. He spent time with his family in Tacoma between games in Boston and Chicago.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.

Jimmy Butler finished with 33 points and nine assists for the Bulls, but everyone else on the team struggled.

Isaiah Canaan, a fourth string point guard who has been on the court for just over 20 total minutes since the All-Star break, came off the bench to play 34 minutes and lead his team in plus-minus for the game. "We're moving on", Hoiberg said pregame.

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At the end of the third quarter, the Celtics had a 79-70 lead. Chicago came out hard-nosed and streaked to claim their first lead of the contest, 65-63, with 4:35 left in the period. Thomas was controlling the game for the Celtics and Bulls simply could not contain him.

The next issue, of course, is that all four of the teams the C's could see in the semi-finals (Bucks, Raptors, Wizards, Hawks) are playing much better basketball than Boston right now.

What Wade won't get caught up in, and has been warning his teammates to stay away from, is the extracurricular activities that went on in Game 4. "He had a hell of a game (Sunday), but when you're allowed to discontinue your dribble on every single possession, he is impossible to guard".

Thomas agreed he is just about impossible to defend, saying "not one man can guard me".

"That's not the reason why I'm impossible to cover", Thomas said. "I've been dribbling that way my whole life". With the Celtics up 41-21 following Green's third 3-pointer, there appeared to be a bit of a turning point. In Game 4, because Canaan played well, there was nearly always a point guard on the court.

Smart feigned throwing the ball at Butler. With the Bulls unable to close out defensive stands, the Celtics were able to capitalize on second opportunities. Butler is a great defender for the Bulls, but even he had difficulty trying to guard and stop Thomas from causing havoc in the paint. "We wanted to get him in there because he is a guy that can pressure the ball and pick up the ball full court. Take it somewhere else".

The Chicago Bulls struggled mightily on offense in Games 3 and 4, mostly because point guard Rajon Rondo was forced to miss both games with a right thumb injury he sustained in Game 2. Crowder jawed at the Bulls' bench after hitting a jumper and Rondo extended his leg as Crowder walked by. At times, the Bulls' size has bothered Thomas at the rim, particularly Jimmy Butler coming over to help alter his share of attempts, but since the Celtics have altered their approach Thomas has found easier traction to the basket.

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