Something that has been true ever since Tom Thibodeau took over remains true this season, even throughout the injuries and personnel changes: the Bulls are rarely going to lose two games in a row.
After getting outscored 31-19 in the fourth quarter and falling to the Thunder, the Bulls once again bounced back. They turned a three point lead to start the fourth into a seven point win. Not a huge victory, especially considering Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio were both out, but the Bulls will take any win they can get without their superstar.
Tonight it looks like the Bulls are going to be down to their third point guard. If Kirk Hinrich (hip) doesn’t play, and it appears he won’t, it’ll be a long night for Nate Robinson. Robinson isn’t known for his defense, but Rajon Rondo is known for being a terror to defenders (while also being kind of a jerk). Rondo is averaging 13 assists per game in the early going, plus 14.7 points.
The Celtics haven’t been as good as they have been in recent years. They rank just 19th in offensive efficiency (101.1) and 22nd in defensive efficiency (104.1). For a team that is usually near the top in all defensive categories, that is a scary early season number that could come back to bite them. And really they haven’t played any offensive powerhouses other than the Heat. They allowed 120 to Miami, but since then they played the Bucks twice, Wizards twice and the Sixers. None of those teams scream “high scoring.”
The Bulls are currently second in defensive rating (96.1).
And to compare the offenses, the Bulls are 13th in offensive efficiency, with a 102.4 ranking. As Bulls fans, you have seen how bad Chicago’s offense can be at times (like down the stretch against the Thunder).
Boston let Ray Allen walk to Miami this summer, and replaced him with airplane-loving shooter Jason Terry. JET is playing well thus far, averaging 11.7 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc. Terry is a scorer and those point totals are about all he is putting up in his 25 minutes per game (2.0 assists as well).
Ray Allen is averaging 13.3 points per game, while shooting 56.7 percent (!) from downtown in his new role with the Heat. Terry might not be as much of a threat on the wing as Allen, but who really is?
The Bulls took three of four from Boston last season, the loss coming when the Bulls were without Rose and Rip Hamilton. In that defeat, Luol Deng shot 3-12 and recorded a 79 offensive rating…yeesh.
Rondo preyed on CJ Watson in the defeat, recording a triple-double. He scored 32 points (11-22 from the field, 10-13 from the line) to go with 10 rebounds and 15 assists. John Lucas probably didn’t slow Rondo down much either. So good luck to Nate tonight who will have his hands full. Rondo is just a 61.8 percent free throw shooter for his career and is hitting just 55 percent from the line this season. So if it comes down to it, resort to the Kurt Thomas method and use all of the fouls you have.
Bounce back: Carlos Boozer has to bounce back from his 2 point effort against the Timberwolves. Boozington did his best Omer Asik impression Saturday day night, when went 0-5 from the field in his 27 minutes, while grabbing nine rebounds and committing four fouls.