The Chicago Bulls came into Boston with a 16-20 record, not the same successful team Boston faced last year in the historic 7OT first round playoff series. The Bulls have been awful on the road this year going 3-13 and there have been rumors regarding the firing of Coach Del Negro. However, none of this mattered last night. The Bulls out hustled the Celtics all night and won the game; Chicago 96 – Boston 83.
The Celts are still without their heart and soul, Kevin Garnett. Coach Rivers hinted after the game that KG may return a week from Friday. The team desperately needs him back in the lineup. Rasheed Wallace has been hurt this week as well with a toe injury. With Sheed and KG not on the court, all offense down on the block must come from one man, Kendrick Perkins.
Perk always had good defensive skills, blocking shots and rebounding, but struggled offensively early in his career. But Perk has improved tremendously over the past 3 seasons on the offensive end. He's developed a 5 footer that has become increasingly reliable. His footwork in the post is controlled and now with his increased strength, has the ability to back in most defenders and give himself a shot closer to the basket. Perk's FG% is a league leading .637 and he's averaging 12.4 PPG. With Garnett out and now Sheed, Perk has been given an opportunity to get more touches and he's delivered.
Though Perk has played well, he is the team's only option on the post; teams are starting to double team him. Without the threat of another postman, Celtics have been forced to take more outside shots and unfortunately, they have not shot well as of late from 3 point range.
The Celtics have lost 6 out of their last 10, but as I said earlier in the week, the Celts are showing teams how much depth they truly have off their bench. The result hasn't been a lot of W's, but the bench is gaining experience in pressure situations. This experience will become invaluable come playoff time. Celts are without 3 of their best players, KG, Sheed and Marquis Daniels. Not to give the guys in green an excuse, but tough to win games when 3 of their best players are hurt and unable to play. We shouldn't all too much until one of them can get back on the court, just being a realist.
Last night, the team looked gassed. They were down for most of the game. The Bulls took advantage of the tired feet of the Celtics by using their athletism to crash the boards and create more field goal opportunities. I give a lot of credit to the Celtics for not getting blown out in this one. Even though with a smaller lineup and tired from playing 4 games in 5 nights, the Celtics would not go away. They were able to cut the Bulls lead to 75-71 with 8 minutes left in the game, but the Bulls answered back with a jumper Luol Deng. Deng had it going on last night, hitting 8-13 from the field and finished with 25 points. Every time Boston made a mini run and cut the lead to 6 or so, the Bulls would answer on their next possession.
Boston needs rest in a big way. Pierce and Rondo have played a lot of minutes lately. Pierce is not a 100% yet, still recovering from knee surgery from a few weeks ago. Ray Allen looks tired as well and his shot has been off lately. Allen and the rest of the team have the weekend to rest and get healthy. Boston's next game will be Monday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. Hopefully, Sheed will be able to play against Dallas. I know this team is struggling as of late, they are still in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 27-11. I have a feeling the past month will be all forgotten as soon as number 5 is back in the lineup.
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Written by johnw