When the fans start chanting for Brian Scalabrine, you know you’re getting blown out.
“The White Mamba”, as he was called by adoring Chicago Bulls fans during his two year stint with the team, returned to the United Center on Tuesday night for the first time since his retirement over the summer, this time as an announcer for the Celtics.
Scalabrine earned many nicknames throughout his NBA Career, and was a fan favorite wherever he played, be it the Nets where he started out, the Celtics for five years after that, or the Bulls to finish his career. The underdog at the end of the bench who only got in the game if the score was out of control, Scalabrine would have gotten into Tuesday night’s game easily, no matter which team he played for.
The Bulls outscored the Celtics in each quarter, then used a torrid 16-5 run at the beginning of the 4th quarter to blow the game open to win going away, 100-89, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer scored 21 points apiece for Chicago and Nate Robinson scored 18 points and sparked the fourth-quarter run that put the game out of reach. Joakim Noah had his second career triple-double, scoring 11 points while dragging down 13 rebounds and dishing out a career high-tying 10 assists for the Bulls, who raised their Central Division leading record to 14-10
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 26 points and eight assists. Paul Pierce added 16 points as they lost their season-high third straight game to drop to 12-12. Rondo had just three turnovers after giving up 7 a piece in the Celtic’s previous 2 games.
Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett had eight rebounds each for Boston, but were easily outpaced by Boozer’s and Noah’s 12 and 13 respectively. For the eighth time in nine games, the Celtics were out rebounded, this time by a 43-35 margin.
Chicago led by seven at halftime despite Rondo’s 13 point and five assists in the opening half while Kevin Garnett lent 10 points and seven boards to the Celtics’ hopes, hitting all five of his shots from the floor – but he was held scoreless and registered just one rebound as he disappeared in the second half.
Rondo stuck around long enough to score 13 points in the third quarter and brought the Celtics within three on a layup with 3:40 to go in the period.
But it was all Chicago after that.
Robinson hit three of his five 3-pointers during the 16-5 run to start the fourth quarter run and scored 15 of his 18 points from behind the arc, and the chants for Scalabrine began in earnest during the waning moments of the game.
We’re going to keep searching,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “This team is not a good team right now.
“This is who we are right now. A .500 team. And we played like that tonight.
The Bulls get a couple of days off before going to Madison Square Garden on Friday night to play the Knicks, then go to Atlanta on Saturday before returning home on Christmas Day to host the Rockets.
Boston gets no time off, returning home to host the Cavs Wednesday night, then the Bucks on Friday before departing on a brutal 4 games in five nights road trip, starting in Brooklyn on Christmas Day then on to play the Clips, Warriors and Kings.
If the Celtics can’t figure out a way to get some consistency and to play a full 48 minutes, they might have to offer to bring Scalabrine back.
Their fans have to have something to cheer for.