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Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston was defeated by the Chicago Bulls, 88-79, on Friday night at TD Garden.
It's becoming a recurring theme, and it's not a good one. The Boston Celtics fall behind early, trail at halftime, make a run in second half and ultimately fall short. The same was true for the Celtics on Friday night, marking their third straight loss.
Boston fell behind early, 14-6, and was down 26-13 after one quarter. The second quarter wasn't much better, with the Celtics being outscored 26-20 as the Bulls took a 52-33 halftime advantage. Boston made its run in the third quarter, outscoring Chicago by 11 points, 26-15, but the Bulls outpaced the C's 21-20 in the final quarter to secure the victory.
Plenty went right for Chicago, and plenty certainly went wrong for Boston. Here's the lowdown.
SLOW STARTS CONTINUE TO HAUNT THE CELTICS
As touched on earlier, this whole fall behind early and push for a comeback thing isn't really working out. The Celtics again sputtered out of the gate, only to have a big third quarter to get themselves right back into the mix. Yet father time set in and the C's ran out of gas. This has been going on for the last four games, and the Celtics have only one win -- one -- in that stretch. Translation? This is killing them. If Boston can't keep themselves in the game in the early going, there's little hope that they can pull themselves up by their own boot straps and be competitive in the second half. At least, that won't work against good teams like the Bulls, Miami Heat and so on. Until this is fixed, expect these results.
DERRICK ROSE BEING DERRICK ROSE, CELTICS CAN'T CONTAIN BULLS
Derrick Rose is a top ten player in the NBA -- he won the MVP award last season -- so it's not surprising that he had as good of a game as he did. Rose finished with 25 point and seven assists for the Bulls and dominated the fourth quarter. Rose scored the first seven points of the final quarter and finished with 12 points in the frame. Again, there's no surprise there -- he's Derrick Rose.
Nevertheless, the Celtics didn't do what they needed to do on defense to stop the Bulls not named rose. Luol Deng once again killed the Celtics, scoring 21 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer each scored 12 and Joakim Noah had 10 points and 12 boards.
In theory, if you let Rose be Rose but focus on taking out the Bulls' other option, there's a better chance of sticking around in the game. Rose may be great, but he can't beat the Celtics alone (at least in a full game, because he did in the fourth quarter). Alas, the Celtics couldn't do that and they paid the price for it.
ONCE AGAIN, BENCH PRODUCTION NON-EXISTANT FOR CELTICS
Missing Delonte West, Jeff Green or even Glen Davis yet? The Celtics bench had another dismal performance (granted, they were missing combo guard Keyon Dooling, who they replaced with rookie E'Twaun Moore), scoring just 14 points on 8-of-17 shooting (47 percent). Mickael Pietrus led the unti with six points on 2-of-5 shooting in 17 minutes and both Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Wilcox scored four points.
Sorry, but that just isn't going to get the job done. Right now, the Celtics are in desperate need of a true sixth man. They didn't get one on Friday night. Brandon Bass has been the C's de facto sixth man this season, but he started on Friday and finished with 10 points and nine boards. Not bad, but that production wasn't replaced off the bench.
It's simple, really. No bench production, no hanging around in games. The Big Four need rest, and lots of it at points, and there absolutely has to be players who can carry the load in their absence. Without it, the Celtics are out of luck.
BOTTOM LINE: If the Big Four aren't going to carry the Celtics, and the bench isn't going to either -- well, you see the conundrum, don't you? Boston's veteran stars -- namely Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo -- need to keep the Celtics in games early so they have a change to be victorious in the second half. That's really tough to do when, well, the Big Four aren't taking over games like they used to and the bench isn't offering support. When those two units aren't living up to the call, then there isn't much hope against good teams like the Bulls.
NEXT UP: The Celtics will try to rebound against the Indiana Pacers -- a tough task, indeed, considering they have already lost to them in ugly fashion last week -- on Saturday night in their third back-to-back set of the season. Boston and Indiana will tip off at 7:00 p.m. EDT and the game wil be aired on CSNNE and on WEEI.
The Chicago Bulls handed the Celtics their third straight loss, which all happened to come at home, in TD Garden Saturday night as they defeated Boston by a score of 88-79. With this loss, the Celtics' record falls to 4-6 while the Bulls have an 11-2 record.
The Celtics were led by shooting guard Ray Allen, who scored 16 points during the game. The rest of the starting lineup consisted of Rajon Rondo, who scored 14, Paul Pierce, who scored 13, Brandon Bass, who scored 10, and Kevin Garnett, who added eight. Mickael Pietrus led the bench players with six points while Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Wilcox each scored four points and JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore each added two.
The Bulls were led by point guard Derrick Rose, who scored 25 points against the Celtics. Luol Deng added 21 points while Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer each scored 12 and Joakim Noah added 10. Taj Gibson added six off the bench while Kyle Korver added two.
At 4-6, Boston is currently in 10th place is the Eastern Conference and are in third place in the Atlantic Division. Chicago is in first place in the conference and in the Central Division.
After loosing three straight games at home, the Celtics are scheduled to hit the road and face the Indiana Pacers on Saturday while the Bulls are heading back home to play the Toronto Raptors on the same day.
The Boston Celtics went to the locker room at halftime trailing the Chicago Bulls by a score of 52-33 at halftime. The Celtics are looking to break a two-game losing streak while the Bulls are looking to win their fourth game in a row.
The Celtics were led by shooting guard Ray Allen, who scored 10 points, in the first half. The rest of the starters combined for 19 points as Rajon Rondo scored eight, Paul Pierce scored seven and Brandon Bass added four. Chris Wilcox added four points off the bench as well. The Bulls were led by Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, who each scored 12 points in the first half. Ronnie Brewer scored 10, Derrick Rose scored eight and Joakim Noah added four to round out the starting lineup. Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson combined for six points off the bench as well.
The Celtics will need to do much better in the second half if they want to avoid extending their losing streak to three games.
BOSTON - A late change was announced for the Boston Celtics as they take on the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden on Friday night. Brandon Bass will start at power forward for the C's, while Jermaine O'Neal will come off the bench. Kevin Garnett, the team's starting power forward, will shift to the five and play center.
This marks Bass' first start in a Celtics uniform. In nine games with the Celtics this season, Bass is averaging 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. Bass was traded to the Celtics from the Orlando Magic in exchange for the rights to Glen Davis.
O'Neal is in his second season with the Celtics and is averaging 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in eight games this season. This is the first game that O'Neal will not start at center for Boston this season.
BOSTON - The Boston Celtics will host the Chicago Bulls and reigning league MVP Derrick Rose on Friday night here at TD Garden in Boston, MA, where the C's will look to snap a two-game losing skid and end their home stand in style.
Rose's status was in question heading into Friday, but he will play Friday night. Rose missed the Bulls' last game against the Washington Wizards with a toe injury, but is apparently feeling better and is ready to suit up and play.
Meanwhile, the Celtics will be down a guard in Keyon Dooling, who suffered a knee injury and will be unable to play in the team's game on Friday or on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers. However, Dooling expects to play on Monday night.
For more pregame news and notes from TD Garden, check out the pregame audio below.
The Celtics go into tonight's game in third place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 4-5. Boston has lost their last two games. By contrast, the Pacers have won their last two games and have a game tonight against Toronto. Indiana is 7-3 on the season and trail the Bulls in Central by two games. Boston is just 1-3 on the road this season. The Pacers are a perfect 4-0 at home this season.
Here is all the information you need to find the game this weekend.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, January 14; 7:00pm ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
TV Schedule: CSN/WEEI
Event: Chicago Bulls (10-2) vs. Boston Celtics (4-5) - NBA Regular Season, Game 10.
Date/Time: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Friday night's game between the Celtics and Bulls will be televised nationally on ESPN. The game will also be aired regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and Greg Dickerson bringing you courtside coverage. In addition, the game can be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM/850 AM), with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell calling all of the action.
Odds: Chicago is a 2 1/2-point favorite over Boston, and the over-under is set at 110.
Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma,Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.
Bulls Roster 2011-12: Omer Asik, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Richard Hamilton, Mike James, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Brian Scalabrine, C.J. Watson. Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau.
Celtics And Bulls In 2011: Boston and Chicago met four times in the regular season in 2011, with each team winning twice. The Bulls were victorious in their first two games against Boston, winning 110-105 in OT on Nov. 5 and 104-92 on Dec. 3. However, Boston closed out the season series with two wins, 90-79 on Jan. 8 and 97-81 on April 7.
Last Time Out: Boston has lost two games in a row, losing to the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in the most recent game on Wednesday night. Rajon Rondo had a game-high 24 points and seven assists and Kevin Garnett added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, which shot 45.3 percent from the floor in defeat.
Chicago, meanwhile, has won three games in a row, beating the lowly Washington Wizards, 78-64, in their last game on Wednesday. John Lucas III filled in for the injured Derrick Rose, scoring a game-high 25 points while dishing out eight assists to lead Chicago. Kyle Korver scored 14 points off the bench and Luol Deng totaled 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Statistics Central: Ray Allen is the Celtics' leading scorer, averaging 19.0 points through nine games. Rajon Rondo leads the team in assists per game (10.1), Kevin Garnett leads the team in rebounding (7.3 RPG), Mickael Pietrus leads the team in steals (2.0 SPG - but he's only played one game). Greg Stiemsma also averaged a team-best 1.9 blocks.
Boston ranks 23rd overall in the league in scoring (91.9 PPG) and 29th in team rebounding (37.3 RPG). However, the Celtics are ranked seventh overall in assists (22.4 APG) and are seventh in points allowed per game (92.0).
Derrick Rose is the Bulls' leading scorer, averaging 20.7 points, and also leads the team in assists with 8.6 per game. Carlos Boozer averages a team-high 7.9 boards, C.J. Watson averages 1.2 steals and Taj Gibson averages 1.4 blocks.
Chicago ranks 11th in the league in points for (96.0 PPG) and second in rebounds per game (46.3). In addition, the Bulls are ranked sixth in the league in assists (22.5 APG) and are the league's second best defense, allowing an average of 85.8 points per game.
Storyline: It's always a story when the reigning league MVP comes to town. The question is, will he even play? Derrick Rose missed the Bulls' last game -- a win over the Wizards -- with a toe injury and is reportedly a game-time decision for Friday night's affair with the Celtics. Reports as of Friday afternoon indicate that Rose will in fact play, but that remains to be seen. However, even without Rose, the Celtics still have a very tough task ahead of them.
Chicago outranks Boston in every major category -- scoring, rebounding, assists and points allowed. Translation? This game has the potential to get very ugly, very quickly for an aging Celtics team. Danny Ainge, the team's GM, even admitted that his team has looked old through its first nine games, but insists they haven't reached their potential.
Of course, as long as the Big Four are still alive and kicking, they have the chance to take over any game. Keys for the Celtics will be to keep the battle on the boards close (not offensively, though) and to get out to a good start. In each of the Celtics' last three games, they have not start off well and have lost two of those three. If they fall behind early again, you might as well count them out.
If Rose does play, then the job becomes even tougher. Rose and Rajon Rondo will make for an exciting matchup, with Rose holding an advantage on offense and Rondo holding the defensive advantage. Still, if Rose has a big game, it likely won't be a favorable outcome for the Celtics.
Players To Watch: Once again, Derrick Rose will be the player to watch in this game. That is, if he even plays at all. Coming off the toe injury that kept him sidelined against the Wizards, Rose has said that he will play. However, it's only fair to wonder if the toe is fully healed and if he can be effective. If it is healed, then the Bulls will likely prevail.
Rajon Rondo will be the key player to watch for Boston. Rondo was the sole reason the Celtics were in the game against Dallas, which they ultimately lost 90-85. If Rondo can contribute like he did on offense against Dallas, this can be a close game. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will all need to step up their games, because Rondo can't do it alone. Off the bench, watch for Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus to carry some of the scoring load while the Big Four rest.
Prediction: In order for the Celtics to come away with a win, a lot of things have to go right. Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer have to have off nights, the C's need to get off to a fast start, they have to limit Chicago's rebounding and have to have a solid game offensively themselves. That's a lot to ask for. Don't expect it. Final Score: Bulls 98, Celtics 87.
Derrick Rose has spent the past couple days limping around in a walking boot after injuring his toe. But the Chicago Bulls point guard said it will take more pain than he's experiencing to keep him out Friday night at the Boston Celtics' TD Garden (8 p.m., ESPN).
Rose told ESPN's John Buccigross that he plans to play against the Celtics despite still wearing the walking boot to protect his injury on Friday morning.
The defending MVP is averaging 20.7 points and 8.6 assists this season as the Bulls have gotten off to an NBA-leading 10-2 start. Rose poured in 31 points and dished 11 helpers in a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, but the pain in his toe worsened, causing him to miss Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards.
The Bulls still managed to defeated the lowly Wizards in Rose's absence. Third-string point guard John Lucas III made his first-ever NBA start and notched 25 points, eight assists and eight rebounds to lead Chicago's 78-64 win.
With the Martin Luther King Day Holiday weekend, Bostonians have two chances to see the Celtics play two of the league's top teams.
Needless to say, the Boston Celtics would have liked a different story to emerge from their first nine games. But Doc Rivers wants to urge fans not to panic amid the troublesome start. He believes the Celtics will regain their mojo.
"I'm just going to warn you, it's nine games," said Rivers. "Don't jump off the bridge yet. Okay? Because I can feel you jumping off."
"It's early guys," he added. "A coach is always worried about his team. That's my job -- concern, worry, that's what I should be. If we were 10-0, I'd be concerned that we're getting overconfident."
The Celtics have fallen to straight to fall to 4-5. They have yet to defeat a winning team, show much life on the offensive glass or hit a rhythm on either end of the court.
"This is where we are. We're going to have to continue to work at this thing and get it better," said Kevin Garnett. "It's not something that we're just going to hope and pray and wish and all the good things like that. It's something we're going to have to continue to work at. This is not easy. I know we made it look easy in the past. It's not easy by far."
Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls (10-2) come to town to take on Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics (4-5) at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday at TD Garden in Boston, MA. Boston has lost two in a row while Chicago has won three straight.
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