The Bulls, who clawed their way to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, are trying to become the first eighth seed to topple the top-ranked team in the opening round since the Philadelphia 76ers upset Chicago in 2012.
The Celtics lost every quarter on their way to defeat.
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points in his team's 106-102 Game 1 home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Easter Sunday, just one day after his young sister, Chyna Thomas, died in a auto accident. He added five steals and three blocked shots.
"Nobody gives us our due", Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas told ESPN. "Tonight, our job was easy". But I think obviously we're going to have to play more purposeful offense that will help our defense.
Crowder matched his career playoff high with 16 points as five Celtics reached double figures.
Boston made pushes to keep the score close until a combination of Butler, Rondo, Robin Lopez and a vintage flurry of unexpected 3s from Dwyane Wade were too much for Isaiah Thomas to keep up with.More news: US home sales shoot up to 10-year high
Chyna Thomas died Saturday morning in a tragic vehicle accident, near Tacoma, Washington. I think for me and Jimmy to have someone who is so locked in, that gives us a different voice. The NBA Playoff Odds for the game have the Celtics favored to pick up the win.
Bradley Beal scored 22 points and Markieff Morris had 21 points for the Wizards, who finished the regular season 49-33 and entered the play-offs as the No. 4 seed after not qualifying past year.
Butler scored 23 points in the second half and finished with nine rebounds as the Bulls dominated the boards, ending up with a 53-36 advantage.
"He always bounces back", Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of Lowry. I certainly didn't see this coming. "You have a point guard that guards them, but you [also] have a guy that's longer, just as fast, all those things".
Still, Thomas appeared to be a little emotional at the start of the game, badly missing his first free throw short off the front rim.
Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston. He is also expected to be back with the team for Game 3 on Friday. But not so fast, just take a deep breath and relax, as this is only the first game of the series. Last year, he was allowed to miss a game to be at the bedside of Andrew Smith, who played for Stevens at Butler. He will be joining his family before returning to the team in Chicago for game three.