Chicago Bulls (10-2) at Boston Celtics (4-5)
Friday, January 13
8:00 PM ET
Game #10, Home Game #6
TV: ESPN, CSN-C, CSNNE, NBAC
Radio: WEEI, WMVP
Referees: Jason Phillips, Brian Forte, Leon Wood
The Celtics will welcome a couple of familiar faces when the Bulls come to visit the Garden. Tom Thibodeau, who was credited with the defense that
led the Celtics to their 17th championship is now in his second season as the head coach of the Bulls. Brian Scalabrine, who was a fan favorite in Boston for 5 seasons, has returned for his second season in Chicago.
This is the first of 4 meetings between these two teams this season. Last season they split the series 2-2, with each team winning on their home court. The Celtics are 10-8 against the Bulls since the 2006-07 season. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 16.6 ppg against the Bulls last season while Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 26.0 points and 6.8 assists per game.
Both teams have been dealing with injuries but at 10-2, the Bulls are obviously dealing much better than the Celtics. Derrick Rose missed the Bulls' last game, a win against the Wizards but is expected to give it a try in this game. Jermaine O'Neal and Keyon Dooling missed the Celtics last practice and are questionable for this game.
The Celtics dropped below .500 with their loss to the Mavericks and have lost their last 2 games after winning 4 in a row. Their 4 wins were all against the bottom teams in the league and they have yet to beat a team at or above .500. A win in this game could go a long way toward quieting the doubts of the fans who are very close to panicking.
PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen
C: Jermaine O'Neal
SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett
Coach: Doc Rivers
Marquis Daniels (illness) questionable
Keyon Dooling (knee) questionable
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) probable
Sasha Pavlovic (wrist) questionable
PG: Derrick Rose............................................. SG: Ronnie Brewer
C: Joakim Noah
SF: Luol Deng .................................................. PF: Carlos Boozer
Coach: Tom Thibodeau
John Lucas III
Rip Hamilton (groin) day to day
Derrick Rose (toe) day to day
CJ Watson (elbow) day to day
Rajon Rondo 15.8 PPG, 10.1 APG, 4.9 RPG 1.9 SPG
Derrick Rose 20.7 PPG, 8.6 APG, 3.4 RPG 0.8 SPG
This is one of the premier point guard matchups in the league. There is a lot of discussion about whether Rondo or Rose is the better PG and in a head to head matchup, expect both players to do their best to make their case as the best. Rose missed the Bulls' last game with a toe injury but is expected to play in this one if at all possible.
Jermaine O'Neal 5.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.6 BPG 47.7% FG%
Joakim Noah 7.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.0 BPG 39.7% FG%
Both of these centers have been struggling somewhat. In the last game vs the Mavs Jermaine had just 2 points and 3 rebounds in 22 minutes. In his last 5 games, Noah has been averaging just 4.2 points on 30.4% shooting. If one of these centers has a big game it could go a long ways toward helping his team get a win.
Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng
Paul Pierce has been struggling in recent games and the Celtics need him to get back on track. Deng has always defended Pierce well and if that continues in this game, Pierce could be in for another long night.
Keys to the Game
Rondo/Rose Matchup - This is not only a key matchup, but one of the keys to the game. Both point guards control the tempo of their team and both are key to their team's success. If Rose's toe injury keeps him out, expect John Lucas III to get his second straight start. This would make it easier on Rondo, but would still not be easy as Lucas scored 25 points against Detroit in his first career start.
Limit turnovers - The Celtics have been turning the ball over way too much. They have been making sloppy passes and not taking care of the ball when dribbling. They must take better cae of the ball.
Rebound - The Celtics have to rebound the ball. They were out-rebounded 47-36 by the Pacers and 43-35 by the Mavericks. The Mavs were 17-0 in second chance points and the Celtics pulled down just 2 offensive rebounds the entire game. The Celtics have to do a better job of boxing out and grabbing the rebounds. Much of rebounding is desire and the Celtics just haven't been showing that they want it more than their opponents.
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have been starting out very sluggish! They dig themselves a hole in every game and then have to come back from a deficit which takes a lot out of them. They must start strong and not let up until the final buzzer. Playing in spurts just isn't cutting it.
Phillips has been in the league for 9 years. He has officiated 400+ regular season games. Before landing in the NBA he worked for the CBA 6 seasons, the WNBA 3 seasons, 2 years in the Dallas Pro-Am, and 5 seasons in high school level in Texas. The Celtics are 5-5 over their last 10 games with Phillips as a ref. It was Phillips and crew that got Tommy to swear on the air about the refs falling for all the blank blank flops. Chicago is 7-3 with Phillips over their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 7-1
This is Forte's 4th year in the league. He spent several years as a college ref before coming to the NBA. Forte was the object of Tommy's wrath in the classic rant that follows (the T was later rescinded). The officiating in that game was bad both ways. The Celtics are 8-2 over their last 10 games with Forte as a ref. The Sixers are 6-4 over their last 10 games with Forte. His home W/L record this season is 4-4.
Osie Leon Wood, III has officiated 600+ regular season games and 6 play-off games.
Prior to becoming an NBA referee, Wood was a shooting guard in the NBA. He was chosen 10th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1st round of the 1984 draft. During his career, he played for the 76ers, Bullets, Nets, Spurs, Hawks and Kings. He played in 274 games in his career and won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 US Olympic basketball team. When not officiating, Wood helps train younger officials. You would think that being a former player, Wood would try to be fair but he has been a mediocre ref at best. The Celtics are 9-1 over their last 10 games with Wood officiating. The Bulls are 5-5 over their last 10 games called by Wood. His home W/L record this season is 5-3.