NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 18th
(All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (12-11) at Chicago Bulls (13-10), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics will try to snap a two-game losing
streak on Tuesday night when they head to the United Center to face the
This is the final tilt a of a three-game road trip and it has not been kind to
the men in green. Boston got swept through Texas, first losing an emotional
game against Kevin McHale and the Houston Rockets on Friday night, then
falling in San Antonio on Saturday.
The loss in San Antonio ended a five-game winning streak for the Celtics over
the Spurs in their building. Paul Pierce and Jason Terry led the way with 18
points a piece, but the Celtics were doomed by their inability to get the foul
line. Boston attempted eight free throws against the Spurs, while San Antonio
shot 20 times from the charity stripe.
"It's hard to win games on the road when a team goes to the line like that and
we don't go to the line," acknowledged head coach Doc Rivers.
The Celtics struggled both offensively and defensively in Texas. They failed
to crack the 90-point mark in either game and surrendered 100 points or more
The Celtics were once the dominant defensive team in the NBA, but currently
rank 16th in opponents' scoring and 19th in opponents' field-goal percentage.
The Bulls remain one of the league's elite defensive squads. They are second
in both critical defensive categories and have allowed 100 points or more just
once in their last 13 games.
Chicago had won five of its last six games heading into a Monday night bout
with the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis. They lost 80-71 as only four Bulls'
players scored in double-figures, led by Carlos Boozer's 16 points and 13
Kirk Hinrich returned from a two-game absence with a bruised left knee to
score four points and fouled out.
The Bulls played brilliantly to start with a 20-11 first quarter lead. In the
second quarter, the Grizzlies outscored the Bulls 18-14 and built an eight-
point lead heading into the fourth.
The Bulls held the Grizzlies to 37.3 percent field-goal percentage, but
Memphis shot an impressive 54.5 percent from 3-point line. Chicago, on the
other hand, posted a meager 18.2 percent from beyond the arc.
"The second quarter was the problem," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "Great
first quarter, terrible second quarter. They play hard. You've got to take
care of the ball and we didn't do that. Then, we didn't get back (in
transition) and got in a big hole. The whole game changed in the second
The Celtics already beat the Bulls in Chicago this season. Boston triumphed
101-95 on Nov. 12 when Rajon Rondo went off for 20 points, 10 assists and nine
12/18 10:43:25 ET