Celtics-Bulls Game 2 preview: Celtics know they have to ‘hit first'

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WALTHAM, Mass. – Let the Boston Celtics players tell you, every game this time of year has to be approached with a must-win mentality.
 
But after losing Game 1 to the Chicago Bulls, make no mistake about Tuesday’s Game 2 folks.
 
It’s a must-win for the Celtics if they are to win this first-round series with the Chicago Bulls who escaped with a 106-102 Game 1 win on Sunday.
 
And while the Bulls have seemingly accomplished what they came to Boston for (steal at least one game), Chicago’s Jimmy Butler isn’t the least bit satisfied.
 
“We didn’t come here to just to win one game,” Butler told reporters on Monday. “We came to win, period. We’re not satisfied with just 1-1.”
 
While falling into a 2-0 series deficit won’t be the final nail in the coffin to their season, being in that position puts them just a couple heaves of dirt away from having their season end much sooner than anticipated.
 
Twenty-three times the home team has lost the first two games of a playoff series, with only three having rallied to advance (1969 Los Angeles Lakers; 1994 Houston Rockets and 2005 Dallas Mavericks).
 
Rather than focus on what they will have to do if they fall into a 2-0 hole, the Celtics are more consumed with what has to happen for them to even this series up at one game apiece.
 
“I know we can play better and control what we can control as far as the rebounding and things we know we can do better,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “I feel the outcome will be a lot different.”
 
At the top of Boston’s must-get-better list has to be their overall team defense which had moments of solid play, but far too often failed to make the plays needed to win.
 
“We have to do a better job of helping each other out,” Bradley said. “(Robin) Lopez controlled us on the offensive boards.”
 
Unfortunately for Boston, Lopez wasn’t alone.
 
The Celtics were out-rebounded 53-36 on the boards which included Chicago having a decisive 20-12 advantage on the offensive glass.
 
Four of the nine players Chicago used on Sunday had at least two offensive rebounds with Lopez leading the way with eight of his game-high 11 rebounds.
 
Boston doesn’t go into games expecting to win the rebounding battle.
 
But they do believe they’re capable of being more competitive than what we saw in Game 1.
 
“We have to do a better job as a team (rebounding),” Bradley said. “We have to hit first.”
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson had similar thoughts on Boston’s rebounding struggles.
 
“Instead of just hitting a body and going and getting it, it’s an all-out effort. You just have to continue to do your job,” Johnson said. “They play never stops until a person gets the rebound.”
 
He added, “the shot goes out, sometimes you get caught staring at the shot and like, ‘okay, I’ve done my job.’ But the job isn’t over until you actually get in front of your man from getting the ball. So like I said, it’s a team effort.”
 
And that effort is what separated the Celtics from the Bulls in Game 1.
 
“If you want to go and get the ball, you’re going to get the ball,” Butler said. “Rebounding is ninety-five percent effort, five percent technique. Same thing with the defensive part of it. If you want to do it, you’re gonna do it. If you don’t, you won’t.”

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