Celtics Visit Rose-less Bulls

Boston Celtics (3-3) at Chicago Bulls (4-2)
Monday,  November 11
8:00 PM ET
Game #7,  Road Game #4
TV:  CSNNE, CSN-C,  NBA-LP 754(C's)/755(Chi) 
Radio:   WEEI,  WMVP
United Center
Referees:  Joey Crawford, Mark Lindsay, Zach Zarba

The Celtics once again will try to get above .500 as they visit the Chicago Bulls.  This is the first of 4 meetings between these two teams.  The Bulls have won 5 straight vs the Celtics at the United Center.  They won the series 3-1 last season.  This is the 4th game of a 5 game homestand for the Bulls. and the third game in 4 nights for the Celtics.

The Bulls are coached by former Celtics assistant and defensive guru, Tom Thibodeau.  It follows that they hang their hat on their defense.  They are 4th in the league allowing just 88.67 points per game on 42% shooting.  The Celtics, on the other hand have struggled with their defense so far this season, allowing 99.5 points per game on 45.5% shooting. 

Both teams are coming off a win.   The Celtics beat the Bucks 106-100 on the road, while the Bulls beat the Wolves 87-80 at home.  Both teams are in the middle of the pack when it comes to turnovers.  The Celtics commit 15 per game while the Bulls commit 15.17. 

Both teams are looking for their second straight win.  The Celtics have dropped to 4th in the Atlantic division while the Bulls are leading the Central division.  The Bulls are 3-2 at home while the Celtics are 2-1 on the road. 

Doc started Jason Terry and Brandon Bass in the last game and they won, so he may start the same lineup in this game.  Then again, he may not.  These days, while Doc is trying to find the right mix of players, it's hard to predict who will be in the starting lineup on any given night. 

Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Jason Terry

C:  Kevin Garnett

SF:  Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Brandon Bass

Celtics Reserves
Jared Sullinger
Jason Collins
Courtney Lee
Jeff Green
Kris Joseph
Fab Melo
Darko Milicic
Leandro Barbosa
Chris Wilcox


Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

Probable Starters

PG: Nate Robinson ............................................. SG: Rip Hamilton

C:  Joakim Noah 

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

Bulls Reserves
Taj Gibson
Nazr Mohammed
Marco Belinelli
Jimmy Butler
Marquis Teague
Vladmir Radmanovic

Derrick Rose (knee)  out 
Kirk Hinrich (hip)  questionable

Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Joakim Noah
Noah brings a lot of energy to the Bulls and he is a presence in the paint.  KG has to match his energy.   In the past,  Noah has been able to get to the basket at will for rebounds and tip ins.  He is also blocking 2.5 shots a game.   KG has got to box him out and defend the paint.  This might be a good game for Doc to give Darko or Collins some run if Noah starts to go wild inside.   

Rajon Rondo vs Nate Robinson
With Derrick Rose still out and Kirk Hinrich questionable after injuring his hip in their last game, the start may fall to Nate Robinson.  After playing together and guarding each other in practice when Nate was with the Celtics, these two know each other's games quite well.  But as much as Nate might know Rondo's game,  the advantage goes to Rondo in this one. 

Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng
Pierce and Deng are always a fun matchup to watch.  Deng is long and a very good defender and has been able to bother Pierce in the past.   He will make Pierce work for his points.  Deng has also been scoring well and is the Bulls leading scorer at 17.7 ppg and has averaged over 24 points per game in his last 3 games vs Boston.  . 

Keys to the Game    
Rebound -   The Celtics are once again 29th in rebounding, grabbing just 37.8 per game while the Bulls are 11th with 43.17 rebounds per game.  The Celtics  have to box out and keep Noah from getting easy tip ins and to keep the Bulls from piling up the second chance baskets.  The Celtics have got to crash the boards as a team and not just expect the bigs to get the rebounds.  They are much more effective when the guards go up strong after rebounds as well. 

- Defense has been the Celtics strength in recent years.  It has also been a strength for the Bulls.  So far this season, the Celtics have struggled on defense while the Bulls have been playing tough on the defensive end.    The Celtics need to match the defensive intensity of the Bulls if they want to come out of this game with a win. 

Be Aggressive - It's no secret that the more aggressive team is gets the calls and usually the win.  The Celtics must start out being aggressive and that starts with Rondo.  They have to be aggressive on the boards, in defending, in going after loose balls, and especially in getting inside to the basket instead of settling for outside jumpers. 

Chemistry and Effort
The Celtics need to continue to try to develop their chemistry.  Hopefully Doc will find the right rotations to allow them to succeed.  Also, the effort must be there for every player, especially on the second unit.

 Official Report 
Joey Crawford
Over more than three decades in the NBA, Joe Crawford has officiated 2,449 regular season and 293 playoff games, including 47 NBA Finals games. Crawford’s playoff and NBA Finals totals are the most among active NBA officials. Over his career, Crawford has officiated the 1986, 1992 and 2000 NBA All-Star Games, as well as the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford officiated in the Eastern League (CBA) from 1974-76. He graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa. and is a member of the Cardinal O’Hara High School Hall of Fame. In 2008, Crawford earned a degree in Liberal studies from Neumann College. Officiating can be considered a Crawford “family affair,” as his brother is veteran Major League Baseball umpire Jerry Crawford, and his father is retired Major League Baseball umpire Shag Crawford. Crawford is also very active in his hometown community of Philadelphia.

There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Joey Crawford, the biggest of which was a suspension for tossing Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench and then challenging him to a fight. He is known for his quickness to call technical fouls but also doesn't tend to be influenced by the home crowd as much as many younger refs seem to be. In the 2008 Playoffs, Crawford was chosen to officiate Game 4 of the Western Conference final between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the closing seconds of the game, there was a no-call where the Spurs' Brent Barry was unquestionably fouled by Derek Fisher. Crawford was the closest official to the call, and the NBA later apologized for the lack of a call. Crawford was also one of the refs who was involved in the income tax evasion convictions and was suspended at that time as well.

He is widely viewed as one of the refs in the NBA who can officiate with an agenda and shows his biases on the court, hence the controversy that seems to follow him throughout his career. The Celtics played 9 games with Crawford officiating last season the last of which was game 7 vs Miami in the ECF. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 with Crawford and 1-0 this season. He called the 89-86 win over the Wizards in which the Wizards shot 17 free throws to 13 for the Celtics and the refs pretty much let them play. The Bulls are 7-3 in their last 10 with Crawford. His home W/L record this season is 1-3.

Mark Lindsay
Mark Lindsay has officiated 283 games in his five NBA seasons. Prior to working in the NBA, he worked for five seasons in the NBA Development League, officiating 116 games, including playoff games in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lindsay received a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and graduated with honors from West Chester University where he was a three year letterman on the Men's Varsity Basketball team. He later worked as a teacher and a real estate sales agent before joining the NBA. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the ACC, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley Conferences. Away from basketball he does motivational speaking engagements for professional groups and youth basketball clinics. He volunteers every summer at referee training camps to help younger officials learn the craft and has consistently been a proud contributor to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Lindsay making the calls and the Bulls are 8-2 in in their last 10 with Lindsay. His home W/L record this season is 2-2.

Zach Zarba
Zach Zarba has officiated 559 regular season NBA games and 17 Playoff games during his nine-year career. Prior to joining the NBA, Zarba officiated in the NBA Development League for two years, where he was part of the crew that officiated the 2003 D-League Finals. He also spent one year officiating in the CBA and two years officiating in the IBL. Zarba has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the ACC, SEC, Colonial, ASUN, OVC and NEC Conferences. In addition, he has three years of high school officiating experience in New York. While at New Paltz, Zarba was a member of the basketball team and was named captain his senior season. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games with him. The Bulls are 8-2 in their last 10 games with Zarba as an official. His home W/L record this season is 3-1.