Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Time: 7:00pm CST/8:00 EST
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Nat’l TV: ESPN
Radio: ESPN 1000
Announcers: Neil Funk, Stacey King
Line: Bulls by 2.5
Injury Report/Inactives: CHICAGO — PG C.J. Watson (Elbow, OUT), SG Ricard Hamilton (Hamstring, Day-to-Day), C Joakim Noah (Thumb/hand, Day-to-Day)
BOSTON — F Jeff Green (OUT), PG Kenyon Dooling (Day-to-Day), C Jermaine O’Neal (Day-to-Day), SF Mickael Pietrus (Day-to-Day)
Key Matchup: Ronnie Brewer vs. Ray Allen
Last Game: Bulls beat Wizards 78-64, Celtics lost to Mavericks 90-85
Last Meeting: April 7, 2011 – Bulls 97, Celtics 81
Series History (Since 2002-03): Bulls lead series 18-15
Last Minute Preview: Failing to break 80 against the worst team in basketball isn’t a very good way to intimidate people. That’s exactly what happened and now the Bulls have a team in the Celtics that are eager to knock off a top team.
Boston is showing the signs of aging and aren’t off to a great start. The Celtics are below five-hundred but only by a game. How sweet would it be for them if they got broke even whilst knocking off the Bulls, a team they view as the changing of the guard?
Derrick Rose is going to play despite missing Wednesday’s game with turf toe. That was also a reason that the offensive production was stalled. John Lucas III filled in with 25 but Rose’s leadership was noticeably absent. Joakim Noah was out rebounded by Luol Deng and Deng outshot both Noah and Carlos Boozer.
The production of the offense will be key as this Celtics may not be off to the best but they’re still the Celtics and they still want to win. Boston has an uphill battle at this juncture in the season with the Bulls, Heat, Hawks and even the Cavaliers above them. If the playoffs were to start today, Boston would be the first team on the outside of the bubble.
They know this and with the shortened season, they have even less time to turn it around. They are aiming to do this tonight at one against the best team in basketball.
It’s going to be a battle and with the Bulls in a bit of a lull in terms of all around play not being at it’s peak, the Celtics have a great opportunity to get out of this funk.
The Bulls also are presented with an excellent opportunity to keep their foot on the Celtics throat as they get their first shot at them when their down. A nice swift kick in the ribs via a win would be a great way for Chicago to remain on top and finally be in a position early in the season to look down their nose at Boston.
Prediction: Bulls 93, Celtics 91