Boston Celtics (19-16) at Chicago Bulls (21-12)
Thursday, January 7, 2016
8:00 PM ET
Game #36, Road Game #17
TV: TNT, CSN-CHI, Sportsnet One
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, ESPN 1000AM
Referees: Danny Crawford, Leroy Richardson, Scott Twardoski
The Celtics are on the road to face the Chicago Bulls in the second of back to back games. The Celtics lead the series 1-0 after a 105-100 win in the TD Garden on December 9. Chicago won the series 3-1 last season With the Celtics only win at Chicago on November 8.
The Celtics have played well on the road with a 10-6 record away from TD Garden. The Bulls have played well at home with a 15-5 home record. The Celtics are 5-2 on the second night of back to back games this season and are 10-1 in their last 11 back to back games on the road.
The Celtics are coming off a tough loss to the Pistons where they led for most of the game and then couldn't hit a shot in the 4th quarter. They need to regroup and get back on track with this game. Avery Bradley will travel with the team but is not expected to play in this game. For the Bulls, Mike Dunleavy is out with a back injury and Joakim Noah is out with a shoulder injury.
PG:Isaiah Thomas ...............................................SG Evan Turner
C: Kelly Olynyk
SF: Jae Crowder ................................. ............PF Amir Johnson
Avery Bradley (hip) out
PG: Derrick Rose ............................................. SG: Jimmy Butler
C: Paul Gasol
SF: Taj Gibson ............................................. PF: Nikola Mirotic
Mike Dunleavy (back) out
Joakim Noah (shoulder) out
Evan Turner vs Jimmy Butler
Butler has surpassed Rose as the star of this team. He is averaging 22.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.82 steals. If Evan struggles to defend Butler, expect to see Marcus Smart on him early.
Kelly Olynyk vs Pau Gasol
Gasol is having a good season and has had some big games. He is averaging 16.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.31 blocks. Hopefully Kelly can keep him out of the paint where he can be dangerous.
Isaiah Thomas vs Derrick Rose
Rose isn't exactly the player he was before the knee injuries interrupted his career, but he is still a very good player and very dangerous if you don't defend him well. He is averaging 14.4 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics are a very good defensive team and so are the Bulls. The Celtics are allowing just 99.0 points per game. The Bulls are allowing only one more point per game at 100.0 This should be a defensive battle.
Rebound - The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. Rebounding will be tough against Chicago's big front line, but much of rebounding is effort and desire and so the Celtics must put out the extra effort on the boards to give themselves extra possessions as well as to limit the Bulls fast break opportunities and second chance points. The Bulls are a good rebounding team, pulling down 48.8 per game while the Celtics are averaging 44.8 rebounds per game.
Run and Move the Ball - The Celtics play best when they run on every possession and run back on defense to get set before the Bulls can get into their offense. They also need to move the ball because when the ball sticks too much with one player then the offense gets stagnant. They lose when their assist totals drop into the teens. The Celtics led most of the game vs the Pistons but in the 4th quarter they stopped moving the ball and their offense became stagnant.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be aggressive on both ends of the court. They have to be the more aggressive team going for loose balls, on defense, on the boards, and in going to the hoop. In their wins, the Celtics have been aggressive but in their losses they mostly seem sluggish. They have to play like they want it more for 48 minutes and not just 3 quarters.
Don't Love the 3 - The Celtics need to take the ball to the hoop. The Celtics shot 3-22 from beyond the arc against the Pistons on Wednesday night. When the 3's don't fall (which is most of the time) go to the hoop. They beat the Nets in the last game by going to the basket. They need to go to the hoop and not continue to throw 3 point bricks.
Back to Back on the Road - The Celtics have been a very good road team and they have been phenomenal in the second of back to back games on the road. Hopefully those trends continue in this one.
Officials - Officiating can always be an x-factor. At times they call the game even and let them play. Other times they call the game one sided or call every little touch foul and that takes all of the flow out of the game. Every crew has it's own identity and that can change the flow and outcome of the game.
Entering his 31st NBA season, Dan Crawford has officiated 1,926 regular season and 265 Playoff games, including 30 NBA Finals games. During his NBA tenure, Crawford has officiated the 1994 and 2001 NBA All-Star Games, and the 1992 Japan Games in Yokohama. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford spent four years officiating in the CBA. He has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conferences, and he officiated the 1983 and 1984 National Junior College Nationals.
After one of the Celtics playoff games in Chicago in round 1 in 2008, there was some controversy when he was seen leaving the arena with his family all decked out in Chicago Bulls gear. He was in the news last season because he was accused of having a bias against Marc Cuban because the Mavs were 2-16 in games officiated by Crawford and Cuban was very vocal about it.
In the last regular season game that he called for the Celtics last season, the Celtics shot 34 free throws to 10 for the Pistons and most of the questionable calls went the Celtics way. In the loss this season at home to the Spurs, he allowed the Spurs to get away with a lot of pushing, grabbing, and hacking while they called the same things on the Celtics. At the half, the fouls were 14-3 in the Spurs favor. In spite of the Celtics being aggressive in going to the basket (Celtics 52 points in the paint to 38 for the Spurs), the Spurs shot 25 free throws for the game to 14 for the Celtics. In the game against Charlotte this season the officiating was excellent and they allowed both teams to play. Both teams shot only 10 free throws and the officiating was even. So, who knows what we will get in this game. The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Crawford on the court while the Bulls are 3-0 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 with Crawford. His home win/loss record this season is 14-14.
Leroy Richardson served his country for 12 years in the United States Navy (May 1982 – January 1994), and was the 1991 and 1992 Tactragrulant sailor of the year in Dam Neck, Va. He was also awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and two Good Conduct Medals. Richardson was an enlisted surface warfare specialist and underwater sea surveillance specialist, was deployed to the Mediterranean from August 1988 through February 1989, and was stationed in Keflavik, Iceland from April 1986 through May 1987.
After leaving the Navy, Richardson decided to pursue officiating full time. Since joining the NBA staff, he has officiated 1,106 regular season games and four playoff games over the past 20 seasons, and was a member of the crews that officiated the 2000 Schick Rookie Game, 2000 NBA All-Star Saturday and the 2003 Japan Games. Richardson has three years of CBA officiating experience as well as 10 years of Pro-Am officiating experience, including the 1992 Pro-Am Nationals. He also has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big East, Southeastern and Ohio Valley Conferences. Richardson spent eight years officiating in Virginia high schools, where he worked the VHSL State Tournament.
There's not a lot of controversy surrounding Richardson and for the most part, he's been decent in calling the Celtics games. This is his first game with the Celtics this season. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Richardson while the Bulls are 3-0 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 with Richardson. His home W/L record is 10-11.
Scott Twardowski enters his 5th year as an NBA Referee having officiated 219 regular season games. Twardowski’s experience includes six seasons and 206 games officiated in the D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and worked in NBA summer camps for eight years. He also has seven seasons of WNBA experience, working both the All-Star game and Finals. In addition to his professional experience, Twardoski officiated collegiate games for 12 years in the Pac 10, Big 12, Big Sky and West Coast Conferences and has 10 years of high school officiating experience. Twardoski worked as a teacher for five years in the 16th School District, Covington, AZ.
Twardoski has called some games that seem to favor the Celtics and some that seem to favor the opponents. None stand out as being obviously one way or the other. There's not much controversy in his career so far. He calls an average of 42.3 fouls per game with 51.5% called on the road team. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Twardoski. The Bulls are 8-2 in their last 10 games with Twardoski. His home W/L record this season is 18-6.