The Celtics return home to host the Chicago Bulls for the second of four games between them this season. The Bulls handed the Celtics their first loss this season, beating them 120-102 in Chicago on October 24. They will meet again in Boston on November 21 and they will meet for a second time in Chicago on November 21.
The Celtics are playing in the first of back to back games and they will travel to New York to face the Knicks on the road on Saturday for their first meeting of the season. This is the second back to back set for the Celtics. They won both halves of their first back to back set as part of their 3 game win streak to begin the season.
The Celtics are 129-108 all time against the Bulls overall. They are 74-39 all time in games played at home. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games against the Bulls. The Celtics are 2-1 at home and 2-2 on the road while the Bulls are 3-2 at home and 2-2 on the road this season. The Celtics lost their last game and are looking to get back on track in this game. The Bulls have won their last 2 games.
The Celtics are once again without Robert Williams III (knee) and also Danilo Gallinari (knee). The Bulls will be without Andre Drummond, who is out with a shoulder injury. They will also be without Lonzo Ball, who is out with a knee injury and has yet to play for the Bulls this season. Coby White is listed as doubtful with a quad injury.
Probable Celtics Starters
2 Way Players
Danilo Gallinari (ACL) out
Robert Williams III (knee) out
Head Coach (Interim)
Probable Bulls Starters
Derrick Jones, Jr
Lonzo Ball (knee) out
Coby White (quad) doubtful
Andre Drummond (shoulder) out
Jaylen Brown vs DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan is playing very well, averaging 23.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is shooting 48.3% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. In the first game between these two teams, DeRozan finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. He is capable of scoring inside and on the perimeter. The Celtics need to find a way to slow him down.
Derrick White vs Zach LaVine
LaVine is averaging 21.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.0 steals. He is shooting 41.6% from the field and 43.5% from beyond the arc. In the Celtics first game against the Bulls, he finished with 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. LaVine shoots very well from the perimeter and so the Celtics need to stay with him wherever he is on the court.
Al Horford vs Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic is averaging 15.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He is shooting 41.2%% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc. He is a threat to grab rebounds and also to block shots so Horford needs to stay with him inside and he also can hit 3’s so he will spread the floor for the Bulls.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always a key to winning. So far, the Celtics have been slacking off on defense. They are 19th in the league with a defensive rating of 112.8. Their faster paced offense is nice, but they won’t win a championship unless they get back to making defense their identity. The Bulls are 7th with a defensive rating of 107.5. The Celtics need to get a strong defensive effort from every player on the court and they need to get back to making defense a priority for all 48 minutes with no slacking off.
Rebound - The Celtics must box out and crash the boards. They can’t score without the ball and it will take extra effort on their part beat the Bulls on the boards. The Celtics are pulling down 38.7 rebounds per game, which is 29th in the league. In the first game between these two teams, the Bulls out rebounded the Celtics 60-45. The Celtics have to put out more effort to get to the rebounds before the Bulls and give themselves extra possessions.
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics still go through periods where they turn the ball over too much and either allow their opponent to build a lead or allow them to come back from a deficit. They need to focus on making good passes and on not dribbling into a crowd. It’s hard to win a game when you give the opponent 20+ extra possessions by turning the ball over. The Bulls are 2nd in the league with 23 points off turnovers a game and the Celtics have to focus on taking care of the basketball to limit those extra points for the Bulls.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to come out and be aggressive right from the opening tip. They have to be aggressive on defense, driving to the basket, rebounding, diving for loose balls and just playing harder in general. They need to get off to a strong start and play hard right up until the final buzzer. They can’t let the Bulls outwork them for any period of time. At the same time, they have to defend without fouling as the Bulls are 2nd, averaging 22 made free throws a game.
Home Game and Revenge - The Celtics are at home and should get a boost from the home crowd. They also have the benefit of sleeping in their own beds and playing on a familiar court and not having fatigue from travel. The Bulls have all the distractions of playing on the road. The Celtics need to defend their home court and use the advantages they have there to do so. Also, the Bulls handed the Celtics their first loss and so they need to avenge that loss by playing harder in this one.
Officiating - The officiating is always an x-factor. Sometimes a crew will call the game tight and blow a whistle on every play. Other times they will let them play and let the game get physical. The Celtics need to adjust to the way the game is called and not let missed calls or bad calls affect their focus. If the calls are bad, they just need to play harder to make up for them and not waste time arguing with the officials, especially since the refs have been quicker to call techs for complaining this season.