Bulls at Celtics — 3:30pm on ABC
BOSTON — It was supposed to be the Bulls hardest game of the road trip, a game they most certainly would lose since they are drained from eight previous games on the road. But as the day comes for Chicago to finish their road trip it’s anti-climactic. This isn’t to say a matchup with the Celtics won’t be an exciting one, it’s just not going to be the brouhaha it used to be.
The Celtics are feeling the effects of age when it comes to their lineup and at 14-12 they have a lot to prove even with the veteran talent on roster. For once, the Bulls are actually looking at a mat cup against Boston that they can very much win. It won’t be easy but it’s going to be a symbolic game.
It will be symbolic because it will embody a trend that is sweeping the NBA: a changing of the guard.
The Lakers are sinking, the Celtics are not good and Suns and Spurs are quickly fading into obscurity. In the meantime, teams like Chicago and Oklahoma City are shelling the NBA with young, athletic stars like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant; guys that are being coached by young coaches like Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks.
Ricky Rubio and Jeremy Lin squared off last night and turned in one of the most jam packed Timberwolves home game since the Kevin Garnett years. The Target Center was so packed, there were no standing room only tickets left.
That’s right: the Timberwolves were turning people away.
All because of two guys that two years ago you’d have no clue who they were (In Lin’s case, even as recent as two weeks ago).
The Bulls are leading this charge and by embarrassing the Celtics in Boston today, the change of the guard would be nearly complete. Boston will be almost .500, the Bulls will move even further ahead in the Eastern Conference and the young guys will plant their flag in a place that has embodied Eastern Conference success in the last five years.
It’s not playoff game and it won’t hold that magnitude, but the attitude is there. Joakim Noah and company know what is at stake even if they seldom show it. Chicago was Boston’s punching bag for a while and now the dweeb has hit the gym, buffed up and is ready to get his milk money back.
For the first time in a long time I can say with confidence, the Celtics don’t matchup well against the Bulls. Chicago is too athletic, too smart, too fast. Boston is old, feeble even if they do still have the chops to turn in a good game every so often.
But as their record shows that’s as often as you’d think. The Bulls are red hot coming off back to back games of holding their opponent under 70 points and the Celtics have been on the receiving end of that before this year.
Don’t expect a blowout but for the first time in the Derrick Rose era, expect –with much confidence — a Bulls win to cap off this road trip.