The Celtics end thier 4 day rest period with a visit from the Baby Bulls tonight (7pm in Boston). The Bulls have been hot in the new year, losing only 1 of 9 contests thus far in the month of January. Those wins have come by an average of 10+ pts. The strong start to the '05 portion of the season has the Bulls sitting 4th in the Central.
Impressive stuff for a team that normally give's the Celtics fits anyways.
The rebounding stats going into this one are oddly, very close. (Side thought: The system we play in must slightly balloon our rebounding stats, as our offensive tempo must produce higher total opportunitites than other teams. I know we haven't been controlling the boards well.) Anyways, the trend is that the Bulls usually win thier rebounding matchup by a couple of rbs, while the C's usually lose thier rebounding matchuip by a couple rbs. That's not particulalry encouraging, but you don't have to win the rebounding stat to win the game, it just usually helps.
The scoring is quite interesting. Both teams pts scored and pts allowed are within 1pt of thier opponents. The interesting difference lay in the fact that the C's both score and allow 10pts more a game than the Bulls, with averages just over 100pts per game. With the C's scoring slightly more than they give up (the bulls score slightly below what they give up) , the thought would probably be that all we have to do is score more than 100 pts tonight and we should win this one.
However, most of us know that when we play the Bulls, throw conventional wisdom out the door. They've got even more young bucks contributing to thier roster than we do (10 players with 3 yrs experience or less). Hinrich, Gordon and Deng will present a challenge to our guards, as they have good handles, good (albeit streaky) shooting, and good defensive effort. Harrington, Chandler and Curry, (when they come to play) can pose more than enough of a problem to the Celtics generally outplayed post positions.
What's the answer to a win tonight? Well, we know guys like PP, RD and GP will likely show up to play. Assuming they do, then the Celtics have an advantage in that we actually have a "veteran presence" tonight. The Bulls have no such thing to really fall back on, and when they do, it's only in the post positions(Harrington and Davis). This should mean that the rookies are only going to have to outhustle and outwork thier counterparts, not out think them. That should be something that's exploited and the mantra should be to play the youth, play hard defense and then run and bring as much to the hole as you can.
Now granted, I'm not getting paid to coach this team, so who knows what the strategy will be, but let's hope we're ready to play after the time off. Go C's.