Chicago Bulls (2-2) at Boston Celtics (4-1)
Friday, November 5
8:00 PM ET
Game #6, Home Game #4
TV: ESPN, SNET1, CSN-C, CSNNE
Radio: WEEI, WMVP
Referees: Marc Davis, David Guthrie, Tom Washington The Celtics will welcome a couple of familiar faces when the Bulls come to visit the Garden. Tom Thibodeau, who was credited with the defense that led the Celtics to their 17th championship is now the head coach of the Bulls. Brian Scalabrine, who was a fan favorite in Boston for 5 seasons, has joined Thibs in Chicago.
For obvious reasons, Tom Thibodeau is very familiar with the Celtics offensive and defensive schemes. Will that give him an advantage in preparing his team to play the Celtics? It will be interesting to see if his familiarity with the Celtics system is enough to get his new team past his old team.
The Celtics catch a break in that they come into this game after a day off while the Bulls are playing in the second of back to back games, having faced the Knicks the night before. This is the first of 4 meetings between these two teams this season.
PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen
C: Jermaine O'Neal
SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett
Coach: Doc Rivers
Boston Bench Mob
Delonte West (Suspended)
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Shaquille O'Neal (knee) questionable
Rajon Rondo (sore feet) will play
PG: Derrick Rose............................................. SG: Keith Bogans
C: Joakim Noah
SF: Luol Deng .................................................. PF: Taj Gibson
Coach: Tom Thibodeau
Carlos Boozer (hand) out
Rajon Rondo 11.6 PPG, 16.4 APG, 2.6 SPG
Derrick Rose 27.7 PPG, 8.7 APG, 1.0 SPG
This is one of the premier point guard matchups in the league. There is a lot of discussion about whether Rondo or Rose is the better PG and in a head to head matchup, expect both players to do their best to make their case as the best.
Jermaine O'Neal 5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.8 BPG
Joakim Noah 14.3 PPG, 15.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG
Noah leads the Bulls in rebounds and blocks and he plays with a lot of energy. Jermaine is working his way into game shape after a series of injuries sidelined him through most of the preseason and early in the regular season. He will need to up his game in this one to prevent Noah from dominating inside.
Semih Erden vs Omar Asik
These two players were teammates on the Turkish National Team and will face each other for the first time as NBA players.
Keys to the Game Rondo/Rose Matchup - This is not only a key matchup, but one of the keys to the game. Both point guards control the tempo of their team and both are key to their team's success. Rondo has been playing big minutes and in the last game, complained that his feet were sore. The Celtics need Rondo at 100%.
Limit turnovers - After turning the ball over just 8 times against the Pistons, the Celtics turned it over 16 times vs the Bucks. It isn't a surprise that they had an easy win over the Pistons and had to work to get the win against the Bucks. The Celtics must take care of the ball and limit their turnovers.
Rebound - The Celtics have to rebound the ball. They were out-rebounded 38-36 by the Pistons and just barely beat the Bucks on the boards 43-42. They have to do a better job of boxing out and grabbing the rebounds.
Defense - The Celtics defense was less than stellar against the Bucks. They allowed way too many open and easy shots. They must get back to a defense first mentality.
Odd Fact The team was named the Chicago Bulls by owner Dick Klein, in reference to the city's livestock industry.
Old Team vs New Team Syndrome
We know that Tom Thibodeau would very much love to beat his old team and I imagine that Brian Scalabrine would too. Will that desire to one up his old team be enough to give the Bulls an advantage? That could be the X-Factor in this game.