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Bulls vs. Celtics game preview: Deng questionable for bitter rivalry in Boston

Jared Wickerham

[Thanks to Boozecontrol89 for today's game preview. There are still some openings left this month if you're interested. And if you're interested in going to the actual games, use our partners if you want Chicago Bulls Tickets. -yfbb]

Phew! Finally, the Bulls were able to break through against a truly talented team by narrowly beating the apparently unstoppable Kyle Lowry and Alan Anderson (?!?!?!?) lead Toronto Raptors. After feasting on the bottom feeders of the NBA like Miami, New York, Atlanta, and Boston for much of the season, the Bulls finally broke through to prove they can hang with the best. I’ll admit, after watching players like Michael Beasley, Ramon Sessions, Robin Lopez, and Mike Dunleavy completely overwhelm the Bulls I was beginning to have my doubts about whether we could be a threat to the top teams... OK, I’m done. On to everyone’s second favorite team to despise... The Boston Celtics.

TV/Radio Information: ESPN (National) WCIU (Local) ESPN Radio 1000

The other blog:

The Storyline:

The Bulls and Celtics have split the season series 1-1 this year with both games coming in Chicago. In the first meeting, The Bulls were in trouble from the tip being without Kirk Hinrich. (I think he had an injured rec spec) Their lack of depth at the point guard position showed all game as nasty Nate couldn't stay with Rondo at all (CAUTION: this link leads to a video that contains strong images of Rondo doing well) and Rajon torched the Bulls for 20, 10, and 9. The Bulls did all they could and almost pulled off an improbable comeback when Thibs went to Teague in the fourth and Marquis was able to slow Rondo somewhat. In the end though, the Bulls fell short 101-95.

In the second matchup the Bulls were coming into the second game of a back to back after a pretty depressing game against the Grizzlies that saw the Bulls score a sad 71 points. This was one of those games where the Bulls came out with a freakish amount of energy and defensive determination. With Hinrich back in the lineup, Nate was able to come off the bench with tons of energy and immediately started pouring in threes. He finished the game 5-7 from three point land and I’m pretty sure he made everyone and Boston forget happy-go-lucky Nate moments like this. Behind Nate and a triple-double by Noah the Bulls were able to handle Boston fairly easily.

Coming into this game the Celtics have won five of six but are coming off a dud against New Orleans. With the emergence of Jarred Sullinger and the comeback (I’m not going to call it a return because I do not want BAB being sued by Adidas) of Avery Bradley, the Celts are looking re-energized and poised to make a statement against an eastern contender like the Bulls.

Three Keys to Victory: (Aside from Luol Deng being able to play)

1. Step up Kurt! It was painfully obvious how badly the Bulls could have used the Cap’n in the first game. The Bulls are going to need a strong effort from Kirk to make life somewhat tough for Rondo. If Hinrich is able to stay out of foul trouble and knock down a few timely threes then the Bulls should be in a great position to win.

2. Noah needs to win the battle with KG. Is there anything more fun to watch than Noah battling against KG? Joakim needs to bring the energy and cause some hell on the boards. Also, it would be nice to see Noah convert a few times down low as he has struggled lately with any sort of post game.

3. Break even in bench points. (or come somewhat close) The Bulls bench has been up and down this year and looked like garbage for the most part against Toronto. The Bulls will especially need strong efforts from Marco and Taj to offset what Terry and Sullinger will provide off the pine.

This is a big game for the Bulls not only because it is against a competitive eastern conference rival, but because they will face Memphis Saturday night in what is sure to be a physical war. So let’s go ahead and beat the shit out of Boston okay?
Oh, and just to make you want Derrick Rose back a little bit more; here is the best youtube video I’ve ever seen of his awesomeness. And also, can we start an uprising to end disasters like this?