Game 27: Where The Celtics Look To Avoid Streaking. Bring Your Green Hat!

That lady sure is angry at that basketball. I bet it forgot her birthday or something. Women, amirite?
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Chicago Bulls (23-6) at Boston Celtics (14-12)
Time: 3:30 PM EST, Sunday, February 12, 2012
Game #'s: Game #27, Home Game #18
TV: ABC, TSN2 Radio: WEEI, WMVP, ESPNR
Venue: TD Garden
Officials: Greg Willard, John Goble, Olandis Poole
The Line: The Celtics have gone 2-2 against the Bulls
in each of the last 2 seasons. The Celtics dropped thier
matchup against Chicago earlier in the season. The Bulls
have won 5 straight, and posess the best record in the NBA.

Game Thread | Chat Room

Breaking news: Rose is out for the Bulls (via Paul Flanney and others), Bass is out (two weeks!), and so is Jermaine O'Neal. Wilcox to start.

This season, so far, the Celtics have been a team of extremes. Their record has hovered around .500 for most of the year, but its not like they've been just trading wins and losses. Only twice have they had a three-game stretch without successive losses or wins. The rest of the season is made up by losing streaks of 3 and 5 games, respectively, and winning streaks of 4, 4, and 5 games, respectively.

I don't have any issue with the winning streaks. I'm cool with those. We're friends, and sometimes we watch old episodes of Firefly together and talk about how we watch Castle just because Nathan Fillion is in it, even though we don't really like the frequent emasculation of Captain Malcom (Mal, to his friends) Reynolds.

The beef I have is with the losing streaks. It's those ruts they get in that can really bother a fan, because it just makes the team seem so...mediocre.

And make no mistake, that's what this team is. The Celtics, both by performance, by record, and increasing by expectation are middle of the pack. They're 2 games above .500, but that's mostly due to their 10-5 record against losing teams. Against teams over .500, they're 4-7, and against legitimate contenders, they're 0-5 (or 0-4, depending how you see the Lakers).

But even with a .500 record, you can still be a contender. You can make the playoffs and surprise nobody when you know out a favorite in the first round. Its far from a new formula. The thing is, in order to get onboard with that train, you gotta prove you can beat the best.

Well, guess what? Our boys are facing one of the best today. They're squaring off against the 23-6 Bulls, a team, while not the favorite to win the chip this year, that remains right at the top of the pecking order in the NBA.

I think the Celtics have got to get this one. They've got to get it to prove to their loyal fans that they're still good once, as they ever was. They've got to get it to prove to the rest of the NBA that on any given night (or late afternoon Sunday) they can still beat the best. And more than anything, they've got to get it to prove to themselves that they're still dangerous.

A loss today makes three in a row, making it the third losing streak in less than 30 games. Nobody will be surprised, and life will go on. A win today, particularly a big one, means a heck of a lot more.

As always, lineups courtesy of CelticsBlog legend, and in-house liontamer, FLCeltsFan


Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen

C: Jermaine O'Neal

SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett

Coach: Doc Rivers

Boston Reserves
Brandon Bass
Mickael Pietrus
Chris Wilcox
JaJuan Johnson
Greg Siemsma
E'Twaun Moore
Avery Bradley
Marquis Daniels

Injured
Sasha Pavlovic (wrist) day to day
Keyon Dooling (hip) day to day
Jermaine O'Neal (shoulder) day to day




Probable Starters

PG: Derrick Rose............................................. SG: Ronnie Brewer

C: Joakim Noah

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

Coach: Tom Thibodeau

Bulls Bench
John Lucas III
Omer Asik
Kyle Korver
Taj Gibson
Jimmy Butler
Brian Scalabrine
CJ Watson

Injuries
Rip Hamilton (groin) day to day
Derrick Rose (back) day to day

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
Bulls Assistant Coaches Ed Pinckney (1988-94) and Adrian Griffin (1999-2001) played for the Celtics
Brian Scalabrine played for the Celtics from 2005-10 and was a member of the 2008 NBA championship team
Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen both attended the University of Connecticut
Jimmy Butler and Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers both attended Marquette University
C.J. Watson and Mickael Pietrus were teammates in Golden State during the 2007-08 season
Rip Hamilton and Chris Wilcox were teammates in Detroit from 2009-11

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