After a sluggish outing against Charlotte, Boston looks to rebound at home tonight against Chicago.
The first key is for the Celtics to be active and play with energy at the defensive end. The Bulls have scored over 95 points in seven of their last eight games, going over one hundred in three of those contests.
The main ingredient to Chicago’s offensive success is balance. With Avery Bradley out, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will be responsible for running around and fighting through screens, to keep up with Richard Hamilton. When he leaves the game, things do not get any easier, as the second-unit features sharpshooter Marco Belinelli. Luol Deng is averaging 17.8 points per game and is incredibly effective off the dribble. Paul Pierce will have to keep up with the taller, more-athletic Deng, compromising his ability to get to the rim, while being able to contest the pull-up-jumper, which is one of his go to moves.
Down low, Chicago features the hyperactive Joakim Noah, who is an adept passer, and Carlos Boozer, who is averaging 24 points per game and 10.8 rebounds in the month of January.
Derrick Rose remains sidelined and the offense has received plenty of criticisms even when he was in the line up; however, when x-factors such as Hamilton, Deng and Boozer are producing at such a high level, the offense becomes lethal.
The second key to the game is rebounding. Tom Thibodeau’s team is very active on the glass, and ranks seventh in rebounds per game, producing 43.7 a night.
If the Celtics can force misses and box out, they can control this game. This combination will create significantly easier scoring opportunities against a Chicago team that ranks third in points allowed per game, surrendering just 91.7 a contest.
The third key to tonight’s game is the bench. If Boston’s second-unit continues to play physical, and with energy, it will help to wear down the Bulls and go a long way towards earning a victory.