at Boston Celtics (14-10) at Chicago Bulls (6-20)
Saturday, December 8, 2018
8:00 PM EST
Regular Season Game #25, Road Game #15
TV: NBATV, NBCSB, NBCSCH, NBA-LP 754 (DTV)/756 (xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WSCR AM 670
United CenterProbable Starting Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Ryan Arcidiacono
Marcus Smart vs Zach LaVineSmall Forward
Jayson Tatum vs Justin HolidayPower Forward
Marcus Morris vs Lauri Markkanen Center
Al Horford vs Wendall Carter, JrReserves
Al Horford (questionable)Two Way Players
P. J. DozierHead Coach
Brad Stevens Reserves
Bobby Portis (questionable)Two Way Players
Tyler UllisHead Coach
The Celtics travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls for the second time this season. In the first matchup of these two teams, Boston blew out Chicago after a slow first period and ran away to a 111-82 win. Just about every played and played well for Brad Steven's bunch, but were led by Kyrie Irving(17 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) and Jaylen Brown who had a rare good early season game with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists on 8-14 shooting.
Lots have changed for both teams since their last meeting at the TD Garden. Chicago fired head coach Fred Hoiberg and has replaced him on Sunday and replaced him permanently with assistant head coach, Jim Boylen. The Bulls are 1-1 under Boylen including an impressive 114-112 win last night against Oklahoma City in the first game of a home back to back for Chicago. The Bulls have also seen the return of sensational, 2nd year big man, Lauri Markkanen after Markkenen missed the Bulls first 23 games. Makkanen has been great since his return 3 games ago averaging 18.3 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and one block per game.
Boston has also had a bunch of changes since these two teams last met. After much experimenting with the starting lineup, Coach Steven's looks to have settled on the current Irving, Smart, Tatum, Morris and Horford starting crew and have moved Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown to the bench.The results have been fantastic as the starters have messed well and have been avoiding the slow starts that plagued the team to start the year. It has also allowed Hayward to rebuild his game as strictly a ball handler off the bench that also has the freedom to shoot when he is open or feeling it. In Brown's first game off the bench since returning from injury, he scored 21 points.
Chicago is still very much the same team they were a month ago: they when a lot of individual iso offensive, they don't pass a lot to set up scores, they turn the ball over a lot, they don't shoot a lot of 3 pointers, probably because they don't hit them at a very high rate. Chicago has the worst offense in the league, the 10th worst defense in the league and are the 3rd worst rebounding team in the NBA..... not a good combo. The Bulls score most of their points in the mid range game and if you can contain that game, the Bulls are easy to beat.
Of course, for Chicago to win, they will need to rely heavily on their big men inside and scoring from Zach Lavine(having an All-Star worthy year with per game numbers of 24.5 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists), the aforementioned Markkanen and Jabari Parker. Boston has been weak on the pick and roll with large men running to the rim for much of this year. If Porter plays he, Markkanen, Robin Lopez and Wendell Carter, Jr. could cause major problems for the Celtics inside.
With Marcus Smart pairing with Kyrie Irving the Celtics should have a the advantage in the backcourt with Smart on Lavine and Irving taking on Arcidiacono. Also, I see no reason for Jayson Tatum to not put up big numbers on Justin Holiday or for Hayward, Rozier and Brown, the newest iteration of the BWA to exploded against, with the exception of Parker, a pretty poor Bulls' bench. Chicago is 1-4 on the 2nd game of back to backs and Boston has won four games in a row. Here's hoping for number 5.