Boston Celtics (28-7, 12-5) @ Chicago Bulls (23-12, 15-3)
Time: 8:00 PM EST Saturday. January 8th, 2011
Venue: United Center
Referees: Ron Garretson Tommy Nunez Jr. Sean Wright
TV: NBATV, CSN-NE Radio: WEEI
The Line: The Bulls are currently 0-2 against the Celtics this season, but last season the Celtics started out 2-0 against the Bulls before ending the season in a 2-2 split. The Celtics have won 4 straight, but the Bulls have dropped 2 straight. The Bulls are 7-4 since Joakim Noah went down, while the Celtics have been 4-1 without Garnett.
The Celtics have not faired the best on back to back games so far this season. They're currently situated at 5-3 on the second night of back to backs, and the season's most humiliating losses (at Cleveland, at Detroit) have come in some of those losses. Taken a step further, all three of the losses on back to back nights have come on the road, which tonight's game is also.
Chicago though has had a rough couple of games lately, so they're not exactly firing on all cylinders either. On Wednesday, the Bulls lost a 2-point game to the lowly but ambitious New Jersey Nets. Last night the Bulls lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. Neither loss is likely sitting well, and already controvesy has arisen involving the motives behind Carlos Boozer's benching in the 4th quarter of the loss to New Jersey.
This might also be the last game Kevin Garnett sits out due to his current injury (calf strain), so if Glen Davis wants a chance to shine one more time, tonight is the night. The same thing goes for Luke Harangody, who is coming off a 17pt 11 rebound effort against Toronto.
Probable Starting Lineups
Injuries and Stuff: Kendrick Perkins, Delonte West, Kevin Garnett (all OUT)
Injuries and Stuff: Joakim Noah (OUT)
Match-Up Of The Night: Derrick Rose V Rajon Rondo
Carlos Boozer and Glen Davis will be a highlight matchup and if BBD gets 2 fouls early, we've got real problems.
But, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo are the bigger pairing. It is a pretty much futile defensive assignment for Rondo; Rondo is still recovering from injury, and he's not quick or strong enough to keep Derrick Rose out of the paint anyways. That's not where the matchup is most important anyways however. If Rajon Rondo can have another game like he had against the Spurs, the Celtics stand a good chance of winning. Without Joakim Noah to roam the paint, the Bulls are not going to be nearly as effective at keeping the Celtics from scoring. On top of that, if Rondo turns in a virtuoso performance, than this could very well be a rout. However, if Rondo has a frustrating game, that means harder buckets for the C's and more turnovers, and that means more chance for Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer and company to ball in transition.