Celtics-Bulls Preview

Boston Celtics Status Check:
Record: 4-5
Division: 1-1
Conference: 4-3
Home Record: 3-2
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 85-90 loss to Dallas
PPG: 91.9 (23rd)
Opponents PPG: 92.0 (7th)
Offensive Rating: 103.5 (11th)
Defensive Rating: 103.6 (19th)
Pace: 88.8 (28th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .513 (6th)
Turnover Percentage: .161 (28th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .728 (20th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .226 (28th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .244 (7th)
Opp. eFG%: .476 (14th)
Opp. TO%:  .140 (17th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .230 (22nd)
Leading scorer: Ray Allen (19.0)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Boston Injury Report:
Marquis Daniels: probable (flu-like symptoms)
Keyon Dooling: questionable (knee)

After Chicago swept their back-to-back-to-back stretch, they had a much needed night of rest, before traveling to Boston.

While the Bulls have played 12 games since opening the season on Christmas (12 games in 18 days), the Celtics have only played nine. Boston will be playing just their second game since January 6 when they take the court tonight. The Bulls on the other hand, played five times in that stretch.

And with the rest, the Celtic’s older legs should be benefitting, but Boston has been having a disappointing season thus far, going just 4-5. They were without Paul Pierce for the first three games of their season though, all losses.

When Pierce returned, Boston tore off four straight wins, but those wins were against Detroit, Washington twice and New Jersey. Detroit and New Jersey are both 2-9 while Washington is 1-9, meaning Boston has not beaten a team that is even close to .500. Throw in their loss to New Orleans and the Celtics have been having a season to forget.

Pierce’s scoring in the six games he played is down more than five points from last year (He is averaging four minutes less per game). Kevin Garnett has played in every Boston game and his scoring, rebounds and steals have all dropped from last season.

This isn’t a good sign for Boston, who has only played two back-to-backs this season.

But the bigger problem may be the Boston defense. The Celtics were tops in the league last year in many defensive categories. Boston tied for first in defensive rating (with Chicago), was second in effective field goal percentage (Chicago was first), and was third in opponent turnover percentage.

This season, Boston is 19th in defensive rating, 12th in effective field goal percentage and 16th in opponent turnover percentage.

And it isn’t that other teams are doing better, Boston’s numbers have dropped. Their defensive rating fell from 100.3 in 2010-2011 to 103.6 this season (The Bulls are in second with a 95.2 defensive rating.). Boston is allowing teams to shoot seven percent better in effective field goal percent compared to last year. It’s early, but Boston’s schedule is only going to get harder, which means those numbers could get worse.

But it may be easier to shut Chicago down tonight. Derrick Rose is questionable, as is Rip Hamilton and C.J. Watson is still out. So if Rose doesn’t play, this could lead to John “28 Attempts” Lucas starting at point guard again. Rose did participate in the pre-game shoot-around and will be a game time decision. Oh please, oh please, oh please.

Lucas against Rajon Rondo probably wouldn’t be a very fun matchup to watch for Bulls fans. And speaking of Rondo throwing Kirk Hinrich into the scorer’s table a few years ago…

Rondo vs. Hinrich

Shooting lights out: Two of the best three point shooters are facing off tonight with Ray Allen taking on Ronnie Brewer. OK, maybe that’s not true, but Ronnie Brewer actually is shooting a better percentage from downtown (.636) than Allen (.628). Allen better watch his heels, as Brewer is coming for Allen’s three point record of 2369 made threes in a career. Brewer has made 54 in his career, so he only needs to make 2315 more.

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Designed by Anthony Bain