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Game #74 - Preview: Celtics @ Bulls

Boston Celtics
Record: 58-15
Last Ten Games: 7-3
Points scored per game: 100.5
Points allowed per game: 90.2   
Pace Factor: 90.9 (18th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 110.3 (9th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 98.9 (1st of 30)

Chicago Bulls
Record: 29-44
Last Ten Games: 4-6
Points scored per game: 97.1
Points allowed per game: 99.9
Pace Factor: 92.9 (11th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 103.8 (24th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 106.7 (12th of 30)

Hat tip to for info on the Celtics and the Bulls.

Rajon Rondo vs. Kirk Hinrich
Ray Allen vs. Larry Hughes
Paul Pierce vs. Luol Deng
Kevin Garnett vs. Tyrus Thomas
Kendrick Perkins vs. Joahkim Noah

Schedule Notes
The Bulls lost in Atlanta on Friday, returned home to beat Milwaukee on Saturday and took the next two days off in preparation for Boston's arrival. Meanwhile, the Celtics defeated Charlotte on Friday, didn't play Saturday, had a quasi-scrimmage against the Heat on Saturday and traveled to Chicago on Monday for tonight's game. I'd actually go advantage Boston because the Heat are not currently a NBA team and the Bulls fans are tired of their team.

Last Time They Met
Every Celtics starter and Leon Powe finished in double figures, while James Posey and Eddie House finished a combined three points short of the mark. Strangely the Bulls had five players score double figures, with Aaron Gray (9 points) falling just short. Yet Chicago never seemed to be in that ESPN televised game.

I Can Dream
"Larry Hughes, shooting guard." - Hughes
"Ben Gordon, starting shooting guard." - Gordon
"I know that's why they traded for me." - Hughes

That's how I picture Hughes and Gordon's initial meeting. More importantly I hope you picked out The Program reference. Remember how good Halle Berry looked in that scene?

The Negativity in that Town Sucks
The Bulls went from being a trendy NBA champion pick to dangerously close to missing the playoffs altogether. And while I never like to say "never", at 4.5 games out of the 8th seed it does not look good. Bulls fans are not happy and I don't blame them.

Pay Rickey
It doesn't get much better than "Pay Rickey!" Unfortunately the Bulls have to figure out if they are going to pay Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. And the bigger point may be that once this awful season comes to an end it doesn't get any easier. Outside of those contract concerns there are numerous other problems. The coaching staff is a mess, the roster is in disarray and as this Blog-a-Bull diary notes management might be the biggest problem of all. I mean seriously check out that diary. Let's pick it up Green Bandwagon readers.

Fake Hustle
I like Noah. I'd argue that he did not land in the right place. Wouldn't Noah be perfect on the Lakers? I guess I've never heard of a guy having to go outside of the organization for coaching on anything other than conditioning and improving skills. Think Michael Jordan and Tim Grover. Or David Thorpe and his guys. But in season film prep seems like the kind of thing that should be handled in house. Having said all that I find Noah's yelling and carrying on a bit forced. And this is coming from a guy that loves Kevin Garnett's body of work. Still Noah is just not that good.

Hughes and Gooden
Hughes is on the books for another two and Gooden is signed through next season. And when you factor in that they couldn't get it done on a team with LeBron James, well what exactly is going on in Chicago?

Most Likely To Eventually Land on a New Team, Get a Fresh Start and Flourish
Tyrus Thomas

Not to be That Guy
Every time the Celtics head to Chicago I hope the organization assigns someone to Tony Allen to keep him out of trouble. I'm not saying he needs it. I'm just saying. On the bright side I'm predicting a big game for Allen. He generally plays well back home and actually enjoyed his breakout 2007 game in Chicago.

When Will Viktor Khryapa's Name Not Make Me Laugh
Probably never.

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