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The Celtics vs The Chicago Bulls: An Intense Game

Satisfactory Essays
Selmon Shewit

Sports Effects on Technology Today

here was no mistaking the feeling. It's the one where the throat tumbles into the stomach and the sweat turns cold. The Celtics were in danger of losing - again - to the Chicago Bulls. That would be twice in six days and there would be no way to put a positive spin on that.

''A loss to the Bulls really sticks in your head,'' Paul Pierce said. ''It was like, oh no, not again.''

But, of course, it never came to that. Pierce had something to do with it; he erupted for 17 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter and the Celtics rallied for a 107-101 victory at the FleetCenter last night, their eighth win in nine games. They remained a half-game behind New Jersey in the Atlantic Division race that is getting more improbable by the day.

This one, however, had an unusual twist in that the Celtics won with suffocating, stifling, maniacal defense in the fourth quarter. Without that, they would have lost and Pierce would have a headache until April, which is when these teams meet again.

Boston was staring at an 86-78 deficit with 9 minutes 3 seconds left. It was being outplayed and had no answers to the suddenly productive Bulls, who were envisioning their first road win of the season. Kenny Anderson was ejected and the Celtics had blown leads of 14 points (first quarter) and 11 points (second quarter).

During a television timeout with 8:39 to play, coach Jim O'Brien told his team it was playing not to lose. The Celtics came out of the break and scored 15 unanswered points, holding Chicago scoreless for 6 minutes 26 seconds.

''We broke down,'' said Chicago sage Charles Oakley. ''They picked up the intensity and we couldn't match it.''

The Celtic defenders did everything in that stretch. They forced five turnovers, including successive 24-second violations. Eric Williams won a jump ball from Brad Miller. Chicago went empty on eight consecutive possessions as coach Tim Floyd desperately made lineup changes (five) and called a timeout, all in vain. It was an overpowering defensive effort not seen here in some time.

''Not since I've been here,'' said Antoine Walker, who has been here since 1996. ''It was a great feeling. We came up with the big stops when we needed to.''

Added Pierce, ''It seemed like we left our defense in the locker room until the fourth quarter, when it decided to come join us when we needed it most.
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