There were times out west when the Celtics felt like they were traveling in the oversold coach section of some budget airline.
But they returned home Wednesday night to find plenty of space — lots of leg room out beyond the 3-point arc. For a team in need of a warm building, the Garden was a much-needed setting for last night’s 111-82 win over Chicago.
The Celtics pushed out for good with a 32-11 second quarter and, faced with a young, hurried opponent, easily protected their lead the rest of the way.
Their success has often been dictated this season by their ability to hit from downtown, and last night’s win fell into that category. The Celtics ultimately shot 15-for-34 (44.1 percent) from 3-point range, with five players hitting two or more, including a 4-for-8 performance by Jayson Tatum.
Jaylen Brown, with one of his most efficient nights of the year, scored 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting, to go along with 17 on 6-for-8 shooting by Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics were shooting 13-29 from downtown by the start of the fourth quarter, and not long after Baynes jumped on the multiple threes bandwagon with his second bomb of the night, Irving kicked off a 12-0 run with six straight points.
Baynes and Hayward followed, each with a three-point play, the latter for a 92-64 lead and, essentially, the game.
The Celtics, with one of their most authoritative quarters of the early season, polished the Bulls off with a 32-11 second quarter for a 51-35 halftime lead.
Brown, off to one of his best starts of the early season, led the way with a 12-point, double 3-pointer half.
And when the young Bulls gave the Celtics even more space at the start of the third quarter, the C’s responded with an 11-0 burst that started on a Horford three, continued through a Brown dunk, another Horford three, and Tatum’s third 3-pointer of the night for a 62-37 lead.
The Celtics continued to score with ease, and by the time Tatum drilled his fourth 3-pointer with 4:36 left in the third, they had boosted their lead to 71-47.
The Bulls finally answered with a 12-3 run – wrapped around Smart’s second three of the night, and by the time Hayward checked in with his first three to close out .the third, the Celtics led, 77-59.
The Celtics spotted the Bulls a 12-4 lead before their offense found traction, first when Brown, looking his strongest at the rim this season, scored three straight times in the paint for a brief 13-12 lead.
After a 2-for-7 start, they closed out the quarter shooting 39 percent, while making things a little too easy for the Bulls, who led after the first 12 minutes, 24-19.
Brown opened the second quarter from downtown, and two minutes later Baynes hit a 3-pointer for the Celtics’ first lead of the night at 27-26. The Celtics center’s deep shot also triggered an extended 18-4 run that also included Brown’s second trey of the quarter in addition to threes from Smart and Tatum.
By the time the run ended on a Horford step-back jumper with 4:20 left in the half for a 42-30 lead.
Tatum buried his second three with 48 seconds left for a 49-33 edge, and Rozier scored from the pant to close out the half with a 51-35 Celtics lead.
Overall, the Celtics out-scored Chicago 32-11 in the quarter.