The Bulls look to bounce back from an ugly loss in Memphis when the Celtics visit the United Center for the second time this season.
[Hey, nobody signed up for a game preview for this one. There are still a lot of games left this month if you're interested. And if you're interested in attending the game tonight, use our partners if you want Chicago Bulls Tickets. -yfbb]
The Bulls were awful last night in a road loss to the Grizzlies, and they will be looking to get back on track tonight at the United Center against the Celtics. The Bulls haven't been that great at home this season (7-6), but luckily, the Celtics have been pretty bad on the road. Boston is 4-7 on the road this year and have been blown out by the Rockets and Spurs in their last two games, both on the road.
The Celtics (12-11 overall) have generally been a whole bunch of "meh" this season, ranking in the middle of the pack in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Per usual, they're a terrible offensive rebounding team, but relatively good on the defensive boards. The Bulls were battered by the Grizzlies on the backboards last night, but they should be able to rebound (pun intended) in that area tonight.
These teams played back on Nov. 12 at the UC, with the Celtics pulling out a 101-95 victory. The Bulls actually fell behind big early, as the Celtics were hitting just about anything, but made a late push before falling short. With Kirk Hinrich out, Rajon Rondo (fuck him) had a huge game, with a line of 20 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and five steals. Hinrich will be playing tonight, but if he plays like he did against the Grizzlies, things could get ugly.
Marquis Teague saw some time in that first meeting, and he did hold his own against Rondo until the Celtics began to burn the rookie with pick-and-roll. Teague didn't play last night despite Hinrich and Nate Robinson struggling, so it will be interesting to see if the rookie gets some time tonight if those two stink up the joint again.
Luol Deng had 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting in that first matchup, and the Bulls would like to see that Deng as opposed to the one we've seen the past couple of weeks. After a 4-of-17 shooting night against the Grizzlies, Deng is shooting 34.9 percent over his last five games and just 40.7 percent in the month of December.
The Bulls usually play well after losses, and they should be up for this game despite being on the second of a back-to-back. The Celtics are the fresher team, having not played since Saturday, but the Bulls have been able to overcome that kind of disadvantage before (i.e. the Sixers game). I feel strangely good about this game, and I think the Bulls will pull out the victory.