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Chicago Bulls (23-6) at Boston Celtics (14-12)
Sunday, February 12
3:30 PM ET
Game #27,  Home Game #18
TV:  ABC, TSN2
Radio:   WEEI,  WMVP, ESPNR
TD Garden 
Referees:  Greg Willard, John Goble, Olandis Poole
This is the second meeting between these two teams.  The first one ended in an 88-79 win for the Bulls.  The Celtics played without Jermaine O'Neal and may have to do so again in this game as he missed the Raptors game with a sore shoulder and his status for this game isn't known as yet.   Since that time, however, the Celtics found their way and went on a winning streak.  They seem to have lost it again in the past 2 games. 

The Bulls have the best record in the East and the Celtics would love to get a win against them to prove to themselves and everyone else that they can beat contending teams and that their recent success wasn't just a fluke.  The Bulls have won the last 3 meetings between these two teams and have split the series 2-2 for the past 2 seasons. 

Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics are 10-7 at home.  Even with their All Star point guard missing several games to injuries, the Bulls have played well both on the road and at home.  They are 14-5 on the road.  The Celtics have lost their last 2 games while the Bulls are on a 5 game win streak. 

Both teams played on the road on Friday and both teams had Saturday off.  The Bulls come into this one buoyed by a 31 point win over Charlotte, even without Rose.  The Celtics are mired in a 2 game losing streak that is no one's fault but their own.  The Celtics must get back to playing like they did to build the 5 game win streak if they want to get back in the win column.  




Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen

C:  Jermaine O'Neal

SF:  Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett

Coach: Doc Rivers

Boston Reserves
Brandon Bass
Mickael Pietrus
Chris Wilcox
JaJuan Johnson
Greg Siemsma 
E'Twaun Moore
Avery Bradley
Marquis Daniels

Injured
Sasha Pavlovic (wrist) day to day
Keyon Dooling (hip) day to day
Jermaine O'Neal (shoulder) day to day



Probable Starters

PG:  Derrick Rose............................................. SG:  Ronnie Brewer

C:  Joakim Noah 

SF:  Luol Deng .................................................. PF:  Carlos Boozer

Coach:  Tom Thibodeau 

Bulls Bench
John Lucas III
Omer Asik 
Kyle Korver
Taj Gibson
Jimmy Butler
Brian Scalabrine
CJ Watson

Injuries
Rip Hamilton (groin) day to day
Derrick Rose (back) game time decision

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo  13.6 PPG,  9.6 APG,  4.6 RPG 1.7 SPG
Derrick Rose   22.0 PPG, 7.8 APG, 3.4 RPG  0.9 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 sore back but I expect him to play in this one.  He missed the game before their last game and came back to play against Rondo.  In that last meeting, Rose had 25 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers.  Rondo finished with 14 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers. 

  vs 
Jermaine O'Neal  5.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG,  .4 APG 1.5 BPG
Joakim Noah   8.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.2 APG,  1.2 BPG 
Both of these centers have been struggling somewhat this season.  O'Neal missed the last meeting between these two teams and Bass filled in quite well for him.  Noah had 10 points and 13 rebounds while Bass had 10 points and 9 rebounds.   Whoever starts against the Bulls MUST box out and keep Noah off the glass and out of the paint.   

Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce  18.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.7 APG, .421 FG%
Luol Deng    16.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, .439 FG%
After two substandard games for Pierce, he is due for a good game.   Deng has always defended Pierce well in the past.  Paul needs to play team ball and not lapse into hero ball as he did against the Lakers. 

Game Notes

This is the second meeting between these two teams.  The first one ended in an 88-79 win for the Bulls.  The Celtics played without Jermaine O'Neal and may have to do so again in this game as he missed the Raptors game with a sore shoulder and his status for this game isn't known as yet.   Since that time, however, the Celtics found their way and went on a winning streak.  They seem to have lost it again in the past 2 games. 

The Bulls have the best record in the East and the Celtics would love to get a win against them to prove to themselves and everyone else that they can beat contending teams and that their recent success wasn't just a fluke.  The Bulls have won the last 3 meetings between these two teams and have split the series 2-2 for the past 2 seasons. 

Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics are 10-7 at home.  Even with their All Star point guard missing several games to injuries, the Bulls have played well both on the road and at home.  They are 14-5 on the road.  The Celtics have lost their last 2 games while the Bulls are on a 5 game win streak. 

Both teams played on the road on Friday and both teams had Saturday off.  The Bulls come into this one buoyed by a 31 point win over Charlotte, even without Rose.  The Celtics are mired in a 2 game losing streak that is no one's fault but their own.  The Celtics must get back to playing like they did to build the 5 game win streak if they want to get back in the win column. 

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 back injury keeps him out, CJ Watson may get his second straight start.  Rondo played very passively against the Raptors and couldn't seem to get it going.  The Celtics need an aggressive and focused Rondo in order to compete against contending teams like the Bulls. 

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.  Much of this is focus and the Celtics just haven't had it in their last 2 games.  They must take better care of the ball. 

Rebound
- The Celtics have to do a better job of rebounding the ball.   They were out-rebounded 47-34 by the Bulls in their first meeting.   They were out-rebounded 42-34 by the Raptors and 55-45 by the Lakers.  The Celtics have to do a better job of boxing out and grabbing the rebounds.  They are allowing way too many tip ins and put backs and second chance baskets.   Much of rebounding is desire and the Celtics just haven't been showing that they want it more than their opponents. 

Focus - The Celtics have got to focus on playing the team game.  They have been sloppy and passive and lethargic in their last two games.  Their ball movement has been almost non-existent and instead of moving the ball and finding the open man, they have been doing too much dribbling and tossing up shots that haven't been going in. 

Official Report
Greg Willard
Greg Willard has officiated 1,464 regular season, 124 playoff, and two
Finals games since joining the NBA officiating staff 23 seasons ago. Prior to joining the NBA, Willard spent four years officiating in the CBA and has four years of collegiate officiating experience in the PCAA and Pac-10 Conferences. He is known for being wildly inconsistent in calling charges and blocks. Willard called the second of the Wizards games that the Celtics won earlier this season. The Celtics were called for 23 fouls in that game compared to 17 for the Wizards. He also called the loss vs Phoenix where the Celtics shot just 9 free throws to 16 for the Suns. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Willard while the Bulls are 6-4 in their last 10. He isn't a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 8-10.

John Goble
John Goble enters his fourth season having officiated 259 regular season
games and seven playoff games. He also officiated the 2010 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophomore game. Prior to working in the NBA, Goble officiated 104 games over four seasons in the NBA Development League and was selected to officiate the 2007 D-League Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences. Seems odd that Goble already has worked the playoffs with just 3 years of experience and others have been in the league 12 years or more and haven't cracked the playoff rotation yet. The Celtics are 7-3 over their last 10 games that Goble has officiated. The Bulls are also 7-3 in their last 10 games with Goble. Also not a homer ref, his home W/L record this season is 10-12.

Olandis Poole
After three seasons in the NBA Development League, where he worked the postseason each year, Poole joined the NBA officiating staff eight years ago and has officiated 421 games. Poole spent 12 years in the college ranks and officiated the NCAA Tournament from 1996 through 2004, including the 2004 NCAA Final Four. The Celtics 1-1 this season with Poole and 8-2 over their last 10 games with Poole as a ref. The loss was against the Heat where the Celtics shot 27 free throws to 35 for the Heat. The win was against the Pacers where the Celtics shot 14 free throws to 31 for the Pacers. Also in this game, with Indy down 7, they called a bogus flagrant foul on Pietrus and then a technical for taunting. It gave the Pacers 3 free throws and the ball with just 34 seconds left in the game. The Bulls are 5-5 over their last 10 games with Poole. His home W/L record this season is 10-10.

X-Factor
Focus and Passion
The Celtics have not been focused in their last two games.  Their lack of focus even got Doc so frustrated he publicly blasted the team during a time out in Toronto.  They have to, as a team, come out focused and concentrate on running their sets and playing a team game.  They also have to find some passion somewhere.  In watching the Knicks, they are getting passion and excitement from Lin.  I don't see that in any of the Celtics.  They have to want to win more than the other team and for that, they must look within. 

FLCeltsFan 2/12/2012 01:34:00 PM Edit
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