Boston Celtics take on Chicago Bulls at the Rose Garden tonight – NBA Preview
The Chicago Bulls will host the Boston Celtics tonight in a game many are anticipating will project the playoff preparations of both teams.
Chicago received some good news regarding Derrick Rose, who has missed the last 11 games due to groin injury. Rose practiced with the Bulls on Wednesday, but will be a game-time decision on Thursday.
"I really don't know. I felt good, but me playing tomorrow, I don't know. I'm able to run a little bit more, but not at my top speed" said Derrick Rose
Chicago has played well in the absence of Rose, going 7-4 since he was ruled out due to a groin injury. They have, however, lost their last two games, the first time this season that they lost two games in a row.
The Bulls currently hold the best record in the league at 42-13, but are only 3 wins clear of Miami, who have won their last two fixtures. Bulls lost at Oklahoma City to the Thunder on Sunday, then lost to Houston on Monday.
"Right now I'm disappointed in the way our team is playing. One thing I know about this league is that things change quickly. We have Boston coming in who is playing great basketball. Every night you have to be ready to fight" said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls are 2-1 against the Boston Celtics this season, but Rose did not play the last two of those three games.
The Celtics are coming off a close defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, but had won five consecutive games before that fixture. They seem to be peaking at the right time in the season, and now their veteran guard Ray Allen has also returned after missing 6 games due to sore right ankle. Although, they were not in the best of forms against the Spurs, giving up 59 points in the first half, against the C’s you just cannot relax.
Chicago is averaging 96.82 points per game at home, while Boston is averaging 89.77 points per game in away games. Chicago have a 21-6 home record, where as Boston’s away record is 11-14 and such the odds are stacked against the C’s.
In Rose’s absence, Luol Deng has been averaging 15.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and his impact on the game will be vital, both on the offense and on the D against Paul Pierce. Richard Hamilton also has a big role to play now that he is back in the team. The Chicago team needs his experience from his golden days with the Detroit Pistons. With Kevin Garnett making his way to the United Center, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson also need to be at the top of their game.
The Celtics will be looking to get back to winning ways against Chicago, who are not only playing to keep their # 1 spot in the Eastern Conference, and the league, but also to show that they are a team and not a 1 man show.
If Rose comes on to play, it will be good, if he doesn’t, Carlos Boozer, Noah and Deng will be vying to win another without the premier point guard.