Celtics Grind Out Road Win Over Bulls
By Maine Celtics Staff /March 22, 2023
HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL – The Maine Celtics grinded out a 93-89 victory over the Windy City Bulls, giving the Celtics a crucial win in the Eastern Conference playoff race with one game left on the regular season schedule.
Two-Way big Mfiondu Kabengele led the way for Maine (18-13) with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Marvin Smith Jr. tallied a season-high 24 points on 9-14 shooting. Scottie Lindsey had 15 points and three steals and Kamar Baldwin notched 11 points and eight rebounds. Two-Way guard JD Davison finished with eight points, eight rebounds and 12 assists.
Two-Way forward Terry Taylor put up 18 points and 15 rebounds to lead Windy City (17-14). Chicago Bulls assignee Carlik Jones logged 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Bulls assignee Marko Simonovic posted 17 points and nine rebounds and Jeremy Pargo tallied 15 points. Henri Drell totaled seven points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
A couple of layups and three-pointers got the scoring started early, but the hot shooting trailed off quickly for both teams as the Bulls led 9-7 at the first timeout break. Smith came off the bench and scored 13 points in seven minutes for Maine in the first quarter while the lead swung back and forth, neither team able to find much success on offense. At the end of the first, the Celtics led 25-23, holding Windy City to 37.5 percent shooting from the floor.
After the Bulls tied it at 25 at the start of the second, the Celtics ripped off a 12-4 run to take a 37-29 lead, though Windy City immediately countered with a 9-0 run to get back in front just past the halfway point of the quarter. In what became a 20-0 run, the Celtics were held scoreless for nearly six minutes before Smith ended it and got Maine back within 10, 49-39. Kabengele scored four points in the last minute and a half, but Taylor’s triple gave Windy City a 54-43 lead at the half after they outscored Maine 31-18 in the second quarter.
Lindsey finished a pair inside to get the Celtics within seven at the start of the third, and Baldwin canned a corner three to make it 54-50 off a 7-0 run out of the locker room. Maine tied it at 54 before Aaron Wheeler broke the ice for Windy City, who went scoreless for 5:07 to open the second half. The Celtics went small with Smith at the five, and Davison’s hook shot gave them their first lead since the middle of the second, 58-57, before giving up another big run to the Bulls and letting them back in front 70-62. Smith hit another three to close out the third and make it 70-65 in favor of the Bulls.
Kabengele’s free-throw line pull-up and Smith’s corner three tied it at 72 on the first two possessions of the fourth, though the Bulls would stretch their lead back to five on a Drell three-pointer. Davison took over as a playmaker to round out the game, dropping off passes to Lindsey and Kabengele that led to easy layups, and tallying seven assists while playing all 12 minutes to close it out. Kabengele sank three straight free throw to keep it tied in the final minutes and after a critical review on an out of bounds call, he powered in for the go-ahead layup. Davison hit a pair from the line and though the Bulls got three chances from deep on their last possession, all of them fell short, giving Maine a much-needed late-season victory,
The Celtics will complete the regular season with a home matchup with the Westchester Knicks on Thursday, March 23.