Chicago's Young Legs Giving Boston a Run

Tired teams do not execute well. And at the end of the dramatic, enthralling, exhausting game between the Celtics and the Bulls Sunday, Boston did not execute what coach Doc Rivers asked them to do.

The Celtics always foul when they are ahead by three late — make the other team shoot two free throws, don’t let them get a chance to tie with a rainbow jumper from deep. At least that is what they are supposed to do. But Sunday afternoon Ray Allen did not foul Ben Gordon, and Gordon hit the rainbow three that sent the game to a second overtime, where the Bull won 121-118 to tie the series at two games apiece.

First things first — you need to clear out your television-watching schedule for Tuesday night and catch game five, because this series has been by far the most dramatic and entertaining one in the playoffs. And the teams are so evenly matched (well, they are when Kevin Garnett sits) that you feel this thing is going seven.

That is, if the Celtics legs can keep going that long.

Paul Pierce played 52 minutes. Ray Allen played 47. Rajon Rondo played 55. Big Baby Davis lugged his big body up and down the floor for 45. Kendrick Perkins did the same with his wide load for 40,

And in crunch time, Perkins was missing layups and Ray Allen — the smart veteran — was not fouling the shooter down three. Tired players make mistakes, mental an physical. The Celtics, who got a title last year on defense and execution, seemed too tired to execute at times.

Credit to Ben Gordon, who hit two amazing shots late — a running bank high off the glass over two defenders and the aforementioned three. It’s not like the Celtics were letting him or Derrick Rose get any shot they wanted.

But the young legs came through, they made the plays, they executed their game plan. That game plan doesn’t involve a lot of great defense, it involves a lot of scoring, of getting out in transition. But to the very end they did that, and the Celtics without KG couldn’t really stop them.

And come Tuesday night, the young legs of the Bulls will be ready to go. Gordon and Rose topped the Bulls minutes list with 49 each — and like Rondo of Boston these are young guys who bounce back quickly. Tyrus Thomas will still be able to leap out of the building, Pierce and Allen on the other hand may be slower to bounce back. And nobody has ever accused Big Baby of being a fitness buff.

The Celtics will get a boost from the loud home crowd, but will that be enough late in the games if their legs feel heavy, suffering a hangover from the extra work Sunday?

Who knows, but with this series you can bet it will be fun to watch

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