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Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

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Boston travel to the Windy City looking to keep within striking distance of the best in the East.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

“Boston Celtics make franchise history with 133-77 victory over Chicago Bulls”

That was the headline after a brutal demolition on December 9th, 2018, a mere 76 days ago. The matchup prior to that between these teams also saw a sizeable 111-82 win to Boston, providing a cumulative 85 point differential between the two teams in the 2018-19 season.

In the second game after back from the All-star break we see a vaguely new look Chicago team with the addition of Otto Porter Jr., claimed prior to the trade deadline via the desperate contract slashing Washington Wizards. Chicago are 3-2 since acquiring Porter from the Wiz, however they are just 6-23 at home this season and have lost 11 of their past 12 games at the United Center.

Taking a macro lens, today’s matchup pits two polar opposite franchises. One team is destined for ping pong balls and lottery hopes, whilst the other team is a hungry, focused group with an ambitious eye on climbing up in the playoff seedings.

Chicago’s litany of managerial mistakes are long and traumatic for any NBA fan let alone the poor Bulls fanbase as the countdown to the Zion Williamson sweepstakes is on in earnest. Sometimes our CB game previews can be verbose and overly full of grandeur, but tonight given the quality of opposition sitting at 15-44 on the season, this is a nothing but a game the Boston Celtics need to win, whilst doing so in convincing fashion.

The last minute ATO play in Milwaukee was the talking point for the C’s after the game Thursday and the absence of Gordon Hayward (ankle) hit hard, as the Celtics bench, outside of Jaylen Brown, struggled. The team in Kelly Green are coming off the back of a 38.2% FG shooting performance against the Bucks and Boston’s level of rust was evident for all to see. The inability of the Celtics to get to the Foul Line remains a constant struggle but the below chart lays it all in layman’s terms:


Projected Starters

PG – Kyrie Irving Kris Dunn

SG – Marcus SmartZach LaVine

SF – Jayson Tatum Otto Porter Jr.

PF – Marcus Morris Sr. Lauri Markkenen

C – Al Horford Robin Lopez

Injuries

Boston – Gordon Hayward (Probable, Ankle); Aron Baynes (Out, Foot)

Chicago – Denzel Valentine (Out, Ankle); Chandler Hutchinson (Toe; Probable); Wendell Carter Jr. (Out, Thumb)

How To Watch

Time – 8:00 EST

TV – NBC Sports Boston