BOSTON -- Winning the games you're supposed to can go a long way for playoff contenders enduring the NBA's 82-game regular season.
Monday night in Boston, the Celtics did just that, dismantling the Chicago Bulls, 113-101, for their second straight triumph. Here's five immediate thoughts from the Green Team's 27th win of the year.
1. Kanter continues to shine
Taking the place of an injured Daniel Theis (sore right knee) in the starting lineup, Enes Kanter delivered early and often. The big man scored 15 points on an efficient 7-for-9 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds and played some sound defense in the post. More importantly, he got the Cs off on the right foot, scoring nine of those 15 points in the first quarter on 4-for-4 shooting to help Boston go up 28-14 after one.
2. Rebounds, rebounds, rebounds
You win the rebounding battle, you usually win the game. Such was the case for Boston against the Bulls, as they pulled down 43 total boards (38 for the Bulls). Five players had at least five caroms, led by Kanter's nine and Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward's six apiece.
3. Williams comes to play
Rookie Grant Williams has been up and down this season, usually earning his minutes with his defensive prowess. Monday, however, he contributed in a big way offensively as well, scoring 11 points (including a 3-ball) on 4-of-8 shooting to go with five boards, three assists and a block. He was making smart decisions and making the most of his 16 minutes off the bench. Williams' versatility and grit have always been his best assets ... if he can turn into a more frequent scorer he will be a more regular part of the rotation.
4. Smart does it all
Marcus Smart finished with 12 points, five rebounds, eight assists and three steals and was a game-best plus-25 in his team-high 33 minutes. Smart was all over the floor on both ends, proving that he goes 100 percent no matter who the opponent. Moreover, his deep 3-ball at the end of the shot clock with 7:55 left in the third quarter in a then six-point game was perhaps the most important bucket of the game. The Bulls never got closer than six after that, and a miss would've allowed Chicago to cut it to a one-possession game at the time.
5. LaVine gets his
Bulls' guard Zach LaVine might just be the best player on a bad team in the NBA. The 24-year-old is averaging over 24 points per game for the 14-win Bulls and one-upped that Monday night, going for 30 points on 50 percent shooting. The Celtics had no answer for the spry playmaker, luckily he was simply a one-man wrecking crew and the rest of the squad couldn't do enough to help.
Nick Giannino can be reached at NGiannino@Salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGiannino_SN.