Success quickly turned to struggle for the Boston Celtics, who had a five-game winning streak snapped on Thursday night and have not won since. They will try to reverse their fortune when they host the conference leading Chicago Bulls, led by reigning MVP Derrick Rose, at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden (TV/Radio: ABC/WEEI).
Boston and Chicago met once earlier in the season, with the Bulls winning in convincing fashion. Luol Deng took advantage of a lacking Celtics defense and finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds while Rose had 25 points and seven assists in his return to action for Chicago, which shot 44.7 percent. Rajon Rondo finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists and four steals while Ray Allen led all Celtics scorers with 16 points. The Celtics shot 41.3 percent.
Things were going well for the Celtics up until Thursday night's home game against the rival Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant had a little something to day about that, as he scored 27 points and took the game over in the second half to lead Los Angeles into overtime before ultimately capturing an 88-87 victory in the extra period. Allen had 22 points and Pierce nearly notched a triple double, amassing 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, but it wasn't good enough.
On Friday, the Celtics fell flat on their faces in an attempt to rebound from Thursday's loss. What should have been an easy bounce back game against the Toronto Raptors turned into a horror show. Boston had 16 turnovers and shot 44.6 percent while Toronto shot 44 percent and escaped with an 86-74 victory. Kevin Garnett had a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds while Pierce totaled 12 points and Mickael Pietrus added 11 points off the bench in the loss.
Chicago, meanwhile, is fresh off a crushing victory over the hapless Chicago Bulls. Led by 17 points and 14 rebounds from Joakim Noah, the Bulls flattened the Bobcats, 95-64. Carlos Boozer had 16 points and six boards, Deng had 12 points and John Lucas finished with 11 points off the bench. Rose (lower back) did not play in the game.
Boston will not play again until Wednesday, Feb. 15 when it hosts the Detroit Pistons.