The AP reports: Willing to defer in the first two games, Paul Pierce took the initiative and the Boston Celtics seized control. Pierce scored 24 points, Rajon Rondo added 20 and the defending champions beat the Chicago Bulls 107-86 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. The teams split two dramatic games in Boston, but this one never really was in doubt. The Celtics led by 11 after one quarter and 22 at the half on their way to an easy win behind Pierce and Rondo. Particularly Pierce… Rondo looked just fine for most of the night after spraining his right ankle in Game 2 and missing practice Tuesday. He hit eight of 15 shots, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out six assists and collected five of Boston’s 16 steals, but afterward two teammates helped him down the hallway afterward. Even so, he insisted he’s OK… Ray Allen added 18 points after scoring 30 and hitting the tiebreaking 3-pointer to lift the Celtics to a 118-115 victory in Game 2 on Monday. Glen Davis chipped in 14 points, nine rebounds and six steals. And Boston hit 12 of 21 3-pointers—four by Pierce and three by Allen.

InsideHoops.com notes: The Bulls only shot 37.5%, while the Celtics shot 48.1% with an awesome 12-of-21 three-pointers… The Bulls dished just 14 assists for the game… Chicago had 22 turnovers, Boston just 13… The high scorer for Chicago was Ben Gordon, who had 15 on just 5-of-13 shooting. John Salmons had 14, and Kirk Hinrich had 14 off the bench… Derrick Rose shot just 4-of-14 for 9 points, just two assists and an awful seven turnovers.