Boston Celtics (13-18, 5-9 away) at Chicago Bulls (12-18, 7-7 home)
United Center at 8 p.m. on CSNNE
Officials: Bill Kennedy, Josh Tiven, Scott, Josh Twardoski
Line: Chicago Bulls -4
The Boston Celtics need something to help shake off some tough recent losses. Blowing large leads has seemingly become a norm over the past few weeks and in consequence Boston has seen its lead in the Atlantic Division disappear. To make matter worse the Bulls have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams in Chicago. All that being said, the Celtics have their work cut out for them tonight.
PG - Jordan Crawford
SG - Avery Bradley
SF - Jeff Green
PF - Brandon Bass
C - Jared Sullinger
PG - Kirk Hinrich
SG - Jimmy Butler
SF - Luol Deng
PF - Carlos Boozer
C - Joakim Noah
Jared Sullinger - QUESTIONABLE (Wrist)
Rajon Rondo - OUT (Knee)
Derrick Rose - OUT (Knee)
Luol Deng - PROBABLE (Achillies)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
· Sully’s Hand - Jared Sullinger was limited to only 20 minutes in the Celtics last game, and has reportedly reaggrevated a hand injury that he has been dealing with for a month and a half now. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game that Sully's limited time in the second half had more to do with the great play from Kris Humphries and Kelly Olynyk off of the bench, however, than it did Sullinger's hand.
· When Things Blow Over - Starters Jeff Green and Brandon Bass had words on the sideline during the third quarter of the game against the Hawks, and neither played at all in the fourth. Brad Stevens did, however, say that again it had nothing to do with off the court doings, but rather the play of the front court he had on his bench.
· Recipe for Success - The Bulls have played a majority of the last two years without Derrick Rose. So how do they win? With good old fashioned defense and rebounding. Tom Thibodeau's club ranks eighth in rebounding and second in points allowed in the NBA this season. The Celtics big men need to have a quick rebound effort from their last game (no pun intended) if they are going to win tonight.
· The Bulls are coming off of a loss to the Raptors on Tuesday, despite the return of Deng. Chicago only managed 37 second-half points in the losing effort.
· Kelly Olynyk finished with a career-high 21 points on Monday, and will surely be needed if the Celtics are to survive the deep, talented frontcourt of the Bulls.
The Celtics will continue to struggle tonight on the road, as the likes of Noah, Boozer, Deng, and Taj Gibson will be too much down low for the undersized Boston bigs too handle.
Chicago Bulls 98, Boston Celtics 89.