Wed. Dec 7th, 2022

Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls
Michael Reaves / Getty Images

Through the first few minutes of their Monday-night matchup with the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics could do no wrong. They made eight of their first nine attempts from 3-point land and jumped out to a 19-point lead; it seemed a fourth consecutive win to start the season was on the way. 

Instead, the Celtics collapsed after that red-hot start and were outscored 104-67 over the final 41 minutes, as the Bulls cruised to a 120-102 win. The Celtics were awful on both sides of the ball; they finished the night shooting 37.4 percent from the field, gave up 14 offensive rebounds and allowed the Bulls to have their best offensive game of the season.

Eventually, that frustration boiled over, as the Celtics lost two key members to ejection late in the second half: interim head coach Joe Mazzulla and Grant Williams. 

Mazzulla was the first one to hit the showers. Late in the third quarter, Jaylen Brown drove to the basket and drew a foul, much to the consternation of Nikola Vucevic. The Bulls big man had a demonstrative reaction, but was only given a warning by the referee. Both Jayson Tatum and Mazzulla were upset that he did not receive a technical foul, as Tatum had a few minutes prior for a similar reaction. 

Mazzulla voiced that displeasure to the refs and was quickly hit with two technicals and ejected. It’s unclear exactly what he said, but unless it was particularly bad his complaints did not seem worthy of an ejection. This was just the fourth game in charge for Mazzulla, who took over during training camp for Ime Udoka, who was suspended for the season. 

Williams, on the other hand, could have little complaint about getting tossed. After a bang-bang block/charge call went against him, he popped up and bumped into an official. It did not appear to be intentional, but that doesn’t matter; any contact there is an automatic ejection. 

This was not the best refereed game of all time, and the Celtics would be well within their rights to have some complaints. However, they did not play well enough to win this game. The good news is that they have four days off to rest and get back on track before they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. 

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