Time to assign blame for Celtics’ Game 1 loss

Chicago Bulls' Robin Lopez (8) and Bobby Portis celebrate after the Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 106-102 during a first-round NBA playoff basketball game, Sunday, April 16, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Who is most to blame for the Celtics’ home loss to the Bulls in Game 1 of their playoff series?

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Is Danny Ainge to blame?:

The Celtics are all about Thomas. The 5-foot-9 guard has to do everything, and he has been spectacular doing it, but nobody wins an NBA title with just one star, especially a point guard. Did they not see the Bulls with Rose? Yeah, the Bulls are all about Butler, but that’s why they’re an eighth seed that should’ve been in the lottery. That’s where teams with one star surface. Even with that fact established, however, the Bulls ended up with more options than the higher-seeded Celtics. Look at this, for example: Dwyane Wade, who can’t jump anymore, and four guys who had no playoff credibility went on a 10-0 run to give the Bulls a lead against the Celtics bench in the second quarter. That’s what happens when the Celtics take Thomas is off the floor. It’s stunning to think the Celtics watched this all season – bad rebounding, vulnerability to second-chance points, lack of a second weapon if Thomas doesn’t have the ball — and decided they didn’t need Butler at the trade deadline to make both their starting lineup and bench better.

Cowherd thinks so:

Jimmy Butler really was excellent:

Could it be due to the lack of inside presence?

Stop me if you have heard this before: The Celtics are not a good rebounding team. It’s been evident since the first game of the regular season that cleaning up the defensive glass would be an issue for the C’s, but the Green ended up saving their least inspiring rebounding performance of the year for Sunday night. In Boston’s 106-102 Game 1 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the visitors managed to grab 20 offensive rebounds, leading to 23 second chance points. Starting center Robin Lopez led the way with eight offensive boards for Chicago, as seven of the nine active players in Fred Hoiberg’s rotation managed to grab at least one offensive rebound in the win. … When all was said and done, the Celtics managed to grab a defensive rebound on just 54.5 percent of Chicago’s missed shot attempts, the worst percentage of the year in 83 games on the defensive glass.

Coach Brad Stevens:

“They’ve been great against us all year,” Brad Stevens said after the loss about the Bulls’ effort on the glass. “I think you look out there at their size, so you’ve got to hit them early and don’t let them get into the paint on their cuts, when they’re cutting to the basket to get a rebound. Your contact has to be – you have to make hard initial contact on block-outs; you can’t just turn and look or get pushed under, because they’re going to get the ball. They’re bigger than we are. So we have to hit first. And so I’ll go back and look at it, chart it all, but that’ll be a big deal moving forward.”

What do you think? Who is most to blame for the Celtics’ home loss?

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