After a stretch of games which saw the Chicago Bulls suffer some ugly losses and lose six straight, they finally got back to winning ways on Saturday night. They held off a late rally from the Cleveland Cavaliers thanks to some clutch baskets by Nikola Vucevic and Lauri Markkanen to walk away with a 106-96 victory. It was a much needed win and one which came without Zach LaVine. The win helped Chicago keep pace with Toronto and Washington in the race for the final play-in spot. Currently the Bulls have a record of 23-33, and are right in the middle of a three way tie for 10th. They are three games behind Indiana for the 9th seed and are subsequently three games ahead of Cleveland after their win over the weekend. Now after a stretch of home contests, Chicago will now have to play five of their next six on the road. Five of their opponents in these contests will be Eastern Conference playoff teams so if there is a time for the Bulls to make up some ground in the standings, it’s right now.
Things have been looking up for the Boston Celtics as of late. They have won six straight games and eight of their last ten. Jayson Tatum has been playing brilliantly and has continued to show signs of super stardom. It was fully on display in their latest game against the Golden State Warriors. Tatum scored 44 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help Boston beat the Dubs 119-114 despite Steph Curry’s 47 point effort. Kemba Walker also hit some big shots late to help seal the victory. Boston is currently tied for fourth in the East with a record of 31-26. With only two games separating them from the 7th seeded Heat, the Celtics will be looking to win tonight to keep the distance between them and the teams beneath them in the standings.
For a Chicago team which struggles on the defensive end, trying to limit Tatum on offense will obviously be the main talking point and matchup to watch for. Despite being a rookie, Patrick Williams been asked to guard a lot of tough assignments this season and tonight will be no different.
Also tonight will be a homecoming for guys like Daniel Theis and Javonte Green. This in turn will also make it Luke Kornet’s first game against the Bulls since he was traded. So you could call this a revenge game of sorts. To add to the reunions, Boston recently signed former Bull Jabari Parker and he will be playing against his hometown team.
Injury Report: Other than LaVine, there is nobody on Chicago’s injury report.
Boston will be without Evan Fouriner due to health and safety protocols while Robert Williams is out with left knee soreness. Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker are questionable with an non-COVID illness. Jaylen Brown is on the report with a non-COVID illness but he is available. Tatum is listed as available despite having Ankle Impingement.
Game Time: 6:30PM CT
Odds: The Celtics are six and a half point favorites in this game. As for the over/under, it’s set at 215.5 but you can find totals for 215 depending on where you look (all info via the Action Network).