Boston Celtics (23-50) at Chicago Bulls (41-32)
Monday, March 31, 2014
8:00 PM ET
Game #74, Road Game #36
TV: CSNNE, CSN-Chicago, NBA-LP ?(DTV)/755(Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, ESPN 1000
Game Thread l Chat
The Celtics travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls for the second straight night. For the first time since 1978, the Celtics are completing their second straight home and home set. They are coming off a 5 point loss at home to these same Bulls and will be looking for some revenge in this one.
The Celtics will look a bit different in this game than they did in Sunday's game because Rajon Rondo is still sitting out the second of back to back games. Instead, Rondo will be filling in for Tommy Heinsohn on the broadcasting team with Mike Gorman. That might end up being a lot better than the game. You should definitely tune in. Jerryd Bayless will be starting at the point in his place.
The Celtics have been playing hard and staying in games with a chance to win at the end but they just can't seem to go that little extra and get the end. They have to clamp down on defense and get some stops at the end of games instead of allowing teams to go on a run to end the game.
PG: Jerryd Bayless................................................SG Avery Bradley
C: Kris Humphries
SF: Jeff Green ................................. ............PF Brandon Bass
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out
Rajon Rondo (rest/broadcasting career) out
PG: Kirk Hinrich ............................................. SG: Jimmy Butler
C: Joakim Noah
Derrick Rose (knee) out
Kris Humphries vs Joakim Noah
The biggest task ahead of the Celtics when facing the Bulls is slowing down Joakim Noah. In their first meeting this season, Noah posted 17 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists and came close to a triple double in Sunday's game. He is playing very good basketball and containing him will be crucial to getting a win in this game. Humphries did a good job while he was in the game but for some reason he wasn't on the court at the end of the game.
Jerryd Bayless vs DJ Augustin
Augustin had a career game on Sunday. He scored 33 points on 14 shots. Augustin comes off the bench and so he isn't actually matched up against Bayless. He will be matched up against Bayless some of the time and against Bradley or Pressey some of the time. Whoever is on the court must make an effort to slow this guy down.
Keys to the Game
Defense- The Bulls shot 53% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc in Sunday's game. The Celtics must do a better job of playing defense. When you allow a team to shoot that high a percentage, it's tough to win.
Rebound - The Celtics must continue to crash the boards as a team. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics must be the team that wins the rebounding battle. The Celtics out-rebounded the Bulls 39-31 on Sunday and they must put out and even better effort in this game.
Set the Pace - The Celtics have to run on every possession. They need to move the ball up the court quickly and get easy shots before the Bulls tough defense gets set up. Without Rondo in this one, it will be harder, but it may be the Celtics only hope.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to win the 50/50 balls and be aggressive in going to the hoop, rebounding, and defending. They have to be the team that wants it more.
Finish Strong - The Celtics played hard and stayed with the Bulls throughout the game but just didn't have a finishing kick to get over the top. This has happened too many times this season. They are in the game with a chance to win right up until the end but just can't close it out. Perhaps some of this is in the coach's decisions at the end. In spite of his strong game, Kris Humphries wasn't on the court down the stretch. The Celtics have to find a way to finish games strong and not allow teams to pull ahead at the end.
Revenge and Pride
The Celtics are playing for pride and they will be looking to avenge Sunday's loss. Will that be enough to help them pull out a win against a tough Chicago team?