It’s always hard to come back from a tough home loss, and it’s even tougher to come back from a beatdown loss at home. But as the saying goes, that’s all in the past. The Chicago Bulls travel to the confines of TD Garden in Boston, MA to try and even the season series with the Celtics. In the last meeting the Celtics came out on top in a 110-105 overtime win the very same building the two will meet tonight. The Bulls currently own a 4-5 road record and would love nothing more than to correct that against the Celtics. Boston, however, is 14-4 with an 8-1 home record, one of the best in the NBA.
The two teams are pretty similar and are building a bit of a rivalry in the past few years. The Bulls always seem to be the ‘Baby Bulls’ when they play the Celtics, despite pushing Boston to overtime Nov. 5, the Bulls never seem to be the favorite. This is obviously because the Celtics are one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, a tier the Bulls would very much like to be a part of. However the other team in the top tier of the Eastern Conference is the Orlando Magic, the very same Orlando Magic team that put up 110 inside the United Center Wednesday. It’s really tough to be considered among the elite when they brutally destroy you on your home court. The Bulls are looking to not only avoid a 2 game skid, but even out the loss on Wednesday. The Celtics are not the Magic and they are vulnerable. They almost blew a 16 point fourth quarter lead against the very non-elite Portland Blazers. They have the age disadvantage but if that’s the only thing you’re banking on, you need to go watch a different sport; perhaps Badminton. The Celtics aren’t one of the elite teams because they get a senior citzen discount in the schedule, they are really that good. Plus the young talent of one Rajon Rondo, who is quickly etching his name not only amount NBA stars, but is becoming the Celtics star. When you’re on a team with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Peirce and you are the star, that qualifies you as a little more than just good.
But the Bulls can beat this team, and with the lineup they have it is very far from impossible. The big thing tonight will be rebounding, and that’s a double pun folks. Joakim Noah needs to play like the player he is, and that player is the league’s 2nd best rebounder. Derrick Rose should probably avoid only scoring 15 points as he is averaging 25.8 ppg. Rose is second in the NBA in Points+Rebounds+Assists, averaging 38.0. So far in his first two seasons, Rose has scored 30 or more points in eight games. He already has six 30 point games this season, so Bulls fans can hopefully look for a performance like that out of Chicago’s young superstar. The most anticipated match-up will be Carlos Boozer going to Boston for the first time in a Bulls uniform. Wednesday night’s less than stellar debut can be easily forgotten if Boozer has even just a decent game. All he needs to do is put up better stats than he did against the Magic. That means he just needs to score better than 5 points in 22 minutes. If he doesn’t then the night could be one to forget. However these teams match-up great and are quickly becoming a marquee rivalry game; the perfect stage for the Bulls to shine. That is if they are ready to.