at Boston Celtics (54-23) at Chicago Bulls (57-20)
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #78. Road Game #39
TV: TNT, TSN2
Radio: WEEI, WMVP
United CenterProbable Starters PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen C: Jermaine O'Neal SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett Coach:
Doc RiversCeltics Reserves
Shaquille O'Neal (calf) out Probable Starters PG: Derrick Rose............................................. SG: Keith Bogans C:Joakim Noah SF: Luol Deng .................................................. PF: Carlos Boozer Coach:
Tom Thibodeau Bulls Bench
Jannero Pargo Injuries
Keith Bogans (knee) probable Team Connections
Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau was a member of the Celtics coaching staff from 2007‐10 and was a member of the 2008 NBA Championship coaching staff
Keith Bogans and Rajon Rondo both attended the University of Kentucky
Bulls Assistant Coaches Ed Pinckney (1988‐94) and Adrian Griffin (1999‐2001) played for the Celtics
Bulls Assistant Coach Adrian Griffin, Kurt Thomas and Delonte West played together on the 2007‐08 Seattle SuperSonics
Brian Scalabrine played for the Celtics from 2005‐10 and was a member of the 2008 NBA championship team
Carlos Arroyo and Keith Bogans were teammates on the Orlando
Magic from 2006‐08
Arroyo and Carlos Boozer were teammates in Utah during the 2004‐05 season
Jeff Green and Kurt Thomas played together in Seattle for part of the 2007‐08 season
Nenad Krstic and Brian Scalabrine were teammates in New Jersey during the 2004‐05 season
Brian Scalabrine played in New Jersey under current Celtic Assistant Coach Lawrence Frank during the 2004‐05 season.Game Notes
This is the 4th and final meeting between these two teams and it is an important one. The Bulls are 3 games ahead of the Celtics in the seedings and the Celtics are back to 1/2 game ahead of the Heat for the 2nd seed. A Celtics win would move them to within 2 games of the top seed and a loss would drop them to 4 games back and pretty much eliminate them from any hopes of the top seed. It would also drop them back into the 3rd spot, half game behind Miami once again.
The Celtics lead the series 2-1 and in case of a tie, a lead in the series would give the Celtics the tie breaker. The Bulls won their last meeting, although both Noah and KG missed that meeting. But the Celtics don't want to go into the playoffs having lost 2 in a row to a team that they will more than likely need to go through to win the East.
The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games and have won 2 in a row. The Bulls are 8-2 in their last 10 and have won their last 4. The Celtics are 23-15 on the road while the Bulls are 34-5 at home. This will be a huge game for both teams. Both teams are talented and both teams are well coached. The team that executes best on both ends of the court will get the win. While neither team will call this a statement game, a win will send a statement nonetheless. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Derrick Rose
This is one of the premier point guard matchups in the league. There is a lot of discussion about whether Rondo or Rose is the better PG and in a head to head matchup, expect both players to do their best to make their case. We have seen so many times that as Rondo goes, so go the Celtics and the Celtics will need an aggressive Rondo in this game more then ever.
Kevin Garnett vs Carlos Boozer
Both of these players have been playing well. KG has a height advantage over Boozer and hopefully can get the best of this matchup. Honorable Mention
Jermaine O'Neal vs Joakim Noah
Noah will be a challenge for JO and hopefully he is up to the task. Noah is aggressive and plays with a lot of energy and the Celtics will need to try to limit him, especially on the boards for easy putback. Noah hates the Celtics and said that he circled these games as soon as the schedule came out and so he'll definitely come to play. The Celtics must do the same.
Keys to the Game Rondo/Rose Matchup
- This is not only a key matchup, but one of the keys to the game. Both point guards control the tempo of their team and both are key to their team's success. The Celtics will need Rondo to play at a high level, which he usually does against the top PGs in the league.
- The Celtics have to rebound the ball. When the Celtics win the battle of the boards, they usually play well in all areas as that means that they are putting out the effort and energy needed to rebound and it transfers to every other part of their game. They need to crash the boards to prevent second chance points and fast breaks for the Bulls. The Bulls are out-rebounding opponents by a league best 5.56 rebounds per game and the Celtics must put out extra effort to win the rebounding battle. Defense
- The Celtics must come to play defensively against the Bulls. You know that Thibs will have the Bulls playing defense and the Celtics have to match that defensive intensity. When the Celtics kick up their defense, it also feeds their offense. Defense wins games is a lot more than just a saying. It is a rule. Team Play
- When the Celtics play as a team they are hard to beat. They must move the ball and find the open man. They can't afford any lapses into hero ball in this game. They also must play Celtics team defense and be sure to cover each other's backs. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the aggressors. They have to be aggressive in beating the Bulls to loose balls and to rebounds and in going to the hoop.
Focus on the Road
The Celtics are playing in the Bulls house and there should be a playoff like atmosphere there. The Celtics will need to bring their playoff level focus and effort if they want to win this game.