at Boston Celtics (13-18) at Chicago Bulls (12-18)
Thursday, January 2, 2014
8:00 PM ET
Game #32, Road Game #15
TV: CSNNE, CSN-Chicago, NBA-LP 755(DTV)/753(Xfinity)
Radio: 100.7 WZLX, ESPN 1000
United CenterProbable Starters
PG: Jordan Crawford................................................SG Avery Bradley
Center: Jared Sullinger
SF: Jeff Green ................................. ............PF Brandon BassCeltics Reserves
Rajon Rondo (ACL)out
Jared Sullinger (wrist) questionable
MarShon BrooksProbable Starters
PG: Kirk Hinrich ............................................. SG: Jimmy Butler
Center: Joakim Noah
SF: Luol Deng .................................................. PF: Carlos BoozerBulls Reserves
Derrick Rose (knee) outKey Matchups
Jared Sullinger vs Joakim Noah
Noah will be a tough matchup for the Celtics. He is averaging 10.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.14 blocks per game. Jared has been playing with a hand injury and he re-injured it against the Hawks and even at 100%, he would have trouble staying with Noah.
Jordan Crawford vs Kirk Hinrich
Crawford has alternated between efficiently running the team and over dribbling and chucking. Hinrich is a hard nosed player and good defender and will take advantage of any lapses on both ends of the court. Honorable Mention
Jeff Green vs Luol Deng
Green wasn't happy with sitting out the 4th quarter against the Hawks and so hopefully will put that anger to good use by upping his play in this game. Deng is playing very well, averaging 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists. The Celtics will need Green to be at his best on both ends of the court. Game Notes
The Celtics travel to Chicago for the first of 3 games against the Bulls this season. Both teams are without their All-Star point guards due to ACL tears. The Celtics' Rondo is expected to return soon. The Bulls' Rose will be out the rest of the season once again.
The Celtics are still hanging on to the 8th spot in the East, tied with Detroit for the 7th spot and just half a game behind Charlotte for 6th. They are also just half a game in front of Chicago, who is in the 9th spot. Toronto has moved 1 game ahead of the Celtics for the Atlantic division lead.
Both teams are coming off a loss with the Celtics losing on Tuesday to the Hawks and the Bulls losing to the Raptors. Both teams are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 5-9 on the road while the Bulls are 7-7 at home.
Both teams had problems in the 4th quarter of their last game. The Celtics blew an 18 point lead to lose by 1 point to the Hawks. Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich combined to go 4 for 27 overall Tuesday, and Chicago missed 20 of 24 shots in the fourth quarter on their way to a loss to the Raptors. Keys to the Game Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics have been getting off to fast starts and big leads. But, in the second half, they stop running, stop moving the ball, and stop going to the basket. They have to continue to do what works for 48 minutes and not slack off in the second half. Rebound
- The Celtics must crash the boards as a team, especially the guards. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics must be the team that wins the rebounding battle. Set the Pace
- The Celtics have to run on every possession. Part of the reason they have given up big leads is that they stop running, stop pushing the ball inside, and stop moving the ball. They have to keep up the pace for the entire game.Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to win the 50/50 balls and be aggressive in going to the hoop, rebounding, and defending. They have to be the team that wants it more. X-Factors On the Road and Focus
The Celtics will be on the road and so they need to keep their focus through a hostile crowd and arena. They also have some internal distractions to overcome such as Bass and Green's reported altercation on the bench in their last game. They have to regain their focus and keep it on the game at hand.