The Chicago Bulls may be taking advantage of an unfortunate situation for Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas, but whatever it is, it has the Bulls up 2-0 as an eight seed. Rajon Rondo finished one rebound shy of a triple-double to lead Chicago in a 111-97 win over the Celtics in Boston for a second straight game. Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade led the way in the scoring column with 22 points apiece, while Rondo had 11 points and 14 assists in a win that sends the Bulls home feeling real good. Robin Lopez chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds, helping the Bulls push their lead as large as 19 on the night. Chicago used that size down low to outscore the Celtics 32-20 in the paint during the first half. Thomas, who was expected to fly out for his sister's funeral after the game, finished with 20 points in the loss. Many have questioned whether or not Thomas should even be playing following the tragic death of his sister earlier this week. Some may also point to that distraction as to what has given the Bulls the early edge. Either way, the Celtics are now facing a 2-0 series deficit as they hit the road for Game 3 in Chicago on Friday night.
Clippers Even Series With Jazz
Game 1 was nothing short of a heartbreaker for the Los Angeles Clippers, who could not get the job done despite the Utah Jazz losing big man Rudy Gobert on the first play of the series. The hometown team struck back on Tuesday night, tying the series at one apiece with a 99-91 Game-2 victory. Blake Griffin had 24 points and Chris Paul recorded a double-double of 21 points and 10 assists to help Los Angeles avoid an embarrassing 2-0 hole at home. The Clippers' offense shot 54 percent from the floor and was also led by big man DeAndre Jordan, who had a double-double of his own with 18 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Los Angeles used a red hot start to get the early advantage, as Paul, Griffin, and Jordan combined to shoot 10-of-13 in the first 12 minutes. They also outscored Utah 18-0 in the paint during that span. The Clippers as a team shot an impressive 65 percent in the first quarter, getting them out to an early 11-point lead. Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points in the loss, but they will host Game 3 on Friday night.
Blue Jackets Avoid Sweep Against Penguins
The Columbus Blue Jackets had an exciting regular season and returned to the postseason, but the Pittsburgh Penguins had plans to end that excitement with ease. The Jackets avoided a series sweep on Tuesday night with a 5-4 win over the Penguins, keeping their season alive for at least one more game. Markus Nutivaara, William Karlsson, and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist, while Jack Johnson and Josh Anderson both found the back of the net in the win. Sergei Bobrovsky had 27 saves, surrendering a goal to Jake Guentzel with 27 seconds left to make things interesting in what was the Blue Jackets' first playoff win in three years. It was also their first every playoff win in regulation in franchise history. The Penguins will look to advance on their home ice, as they started Marc-Andre Fleury yet again for the injured Matt Murray on Tuesday. Fleury made 29 saves, but could not stop the desperate Jackets on the road. Game 5 of the series is back in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.