Celtics close out road trip vs the Bulls

Jonathan Daniel

The Celtics close out their 3 game road trip with a stop in Chicago to face Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls.

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Boston Celtics (12-11) at Chicago Bulls (13-9)
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
8:00 PM ET
Game #24, Road Game #12
TV: CSNNE, CSN-C, NBA-LP 758(C's)/759(Chi)
Radio: WEEI, WMVP
United Center

Referees: Jason Phillips, Violet Palmer, Leon Wood

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets


This is the second of 4 meetings between these two teams. The Bulls are doing very with a 13-9 record in spite of missing their all star point guard for the season so far. The Bulls are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10. The Celtics are 4-7 on the road while the Bulls are 7-6 at home.

The Bulls are coached by former Celtics assistant and defensive guru, Tom Thibodeau. It follows that they hang their hat on their defense. They are 2nd in the league allowing just 90.86 points per game on 42.6% shooting. The Celtics, on the other hand have struggled with their defense so far this season, ranking 16th and allowing 97.91 points per game on 44.7% shooting.

The Celtics have dropped the first 2 games on their road trip and need to win this game to stay above .500 for the year. The Celtics have had 2 days off while the Bulls are playing in the second of back to back games after a tough game in Memphis on Monday night.

Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Courtney Lee

C: Kevin Garnett

SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Brandon Bass

Celtics Reserves

Jared Sullinger

Jason Collins

Jason Terry

Jeff Green

Leandro Barbosa

Chris Wilcox

Injuries

Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

D-League

Kris Joseph

Fab Melo

Probable Starters

PG: Kirk Hinrich ............................................. SG: Marco Belinelli

C: Joakim Noah

SF: Luol Deng .................................................. PF: Carlos Boozer

Bulls Reserves

Taj Gibson

Nazr Mohammed

Nate Robinson

Jimmy Butler

Marquis Teague

Vladmir Radmanovic

Injuries

Derrick Rose (knee) out

Rip Hamilton (foot) day to day

Key Matchups

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Kevin Garnett vs Joakim Noah

Noah brings a lot of energy to the Bulls and he is a presence in the paint. KG has to match his energy. In the past, Noah has been able to get to the basket at will for rebounds and tip ins. He is also blocking 2.3 shots a game. KG has got to box him out and defend the paint. This might be a good game for Doc to give Collins some run if Noah starts to go wild inside.

vs

Rajon Rondo vs Kirk Hinrich

Rondo and Hinrich have history together going back to the 2009 playoffs when Rondo shoved Hinrich into the scorer's table and the 2 got into a skirmish. Rondo has a speed advantage on Hinrich but Hinrich is a good shooter and so Rondo will need to stay with him on defense.


Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng

Pierce and Deng are always a fun matchup to watch. Deng is long and a very good defender and has been able to bother Pierce in the past. He will make Pierce work for his points. Deng has also been shooting well and is scoring 17.8 ppg and in the past has put up some big games against the Celtics.


Keys to the Game

Rebound - The Celtics are once again last in rebounding, grabbing just 38.97 per game while the Bulls are 7th with 43.73 rebounds per game. The Celtics have to box out and keep Noah from getting easy tip ins and to keep the Bulls from piling up the second chance baskets. The Celtics have got to crash the boards as a team and not just expect the bigs to get the rebounds. They are much more effective when the guards go up strong after rebounds as well.


Defense
- Defense has been the Celtics strength in recent years. It has also been a strength for the Bulls. So far this season, the Celtics have struggled on defense while the Bulls have been playing tough on the defensive end. The Celtics need to match the defensive intensity of the Bulls if they want to come out of this game with a win.

Be Aggressive - It's no secret that the more aggressive team gets the calls and usually the win. The Celtics must start out being aggressive and that starts with Rondo. They have to be aggressive on the boards, in defending, in going after loose balls, and especially in getting inside to the basket instead of settling for outside jumpers.

X-Factors

Rest vs Fatigue

The Celtics have had 2 days off and should be rested while the Bulls played on Monday night and will be playing in back to back games. Hopefully the Celtics will be energized and will catch the Bulls a bit tired.

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