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Bulls vs. Celtics preview, injury report, lineups

Another matchup against an Eastern Conference playoff team

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NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After five excruciating games, the Chicago Bulls finally notched a tally in the win column. Their victory against the Detroit Pistons was their first of 2020 and snapped a six game losing streak. Chicago came out of the gates shooting lights out and built up a 35-20 lead in the first quarter. Despite multiple attempts from Detroit to come back, the Bulls stayed hot from the field and eventually closed the game out. Chicago shot 50.6 percent from the field and had 60 points in the paint, leading to a 108-99 victory. It was a much needed win with the Bulls suffering demoralizing losses to begin the month.

Wining against Detroit has been a common trend for Chicago so far the season. With the victory on Saturday, the Bulls have swept the season series 4-0 and also jumped over the Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings. Chicago now sits 10th in the East with a record of 14-26 and are one game behind the win column with the Charlotte Hornets who are in ninth. But Chicago has to keep stacking wins as they are still four games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed. A win this past weekend may have stopped the run of bad form for a while but they still need to show they can beat playoff teams. The Bulls last four wins have come against the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, and the Pistons twice.

While it may show that they are able to beat the teams below them in the standings, it doesn’t exactly mean much for their push to the playoffs. With their schedule only getting tougher, the Bulls are going to have to get some victories against Eastern Conference teams which are much better than them. Tonight represents one of those tests when they travel to play the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics are entering this game in a bit of a slump. They have lost three of their last four games but they got a huge win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. Jayson Tatum put the Celtics on his back and dropped 41 points. Enes Kanter added 22 and Gordon Hayward scored 19 to help Boston score more than 40 points in two quarters to win 140-105. They shot 55 percent from three and 48.3 percent from deep in what was one of their best offensive games of the season.

This matchup against Chicago is the second of a three game homestand for Boston and it’s in a place where they don't lose often. The Celtics are 15-3 at TD Garden, which is the fourth best home record in the East. It’s going to be a steep hill for the Bulls to climb if they want to win at Boston. In terms of their standing in the East, the Celtics are tied for second in the East. With the Bucks seven games ahead of them in the first place, holding off the Miami Heat for the number two seed seems like the biggest focus for Boston right now. The two teams already met this month (January 4th) with the Celtics hitting some clutch shots late to hold off the Bulls 111-104 despite 35 points from Zach LaVine.

Injury Report: Lauri Markkanen, Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Gafford, and Chandler Hutchison are all probable. Expect all four of them to be active. Gafford is getting the starting center spot again.

As for Boston, Daniel Theis is out with right knee soreness and Robert Williams III is out with a left hip injury. Vincent Porier was initially listed as questionable for this game but has been ruled available for this one.

Game Time: 6:30 PM

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Betting Odds: The Celtics opened as a 9.5 point favorite but it’s since moved up to (-10.5). The over/under is set at 216.5 (via the Action Network).