Boston is 4-1 on the season and 3-0 as the host, and recently disposed of the Milwaukee Bucks by a 105-102 score in overtime on Wednesday in Beantown. Paul Pierce scored 28 points and became just the third Celtic to score 20,000 points while playing their entire career in the New England area. Pierce also sank 11-of-11 shots from the foul line and joined Larry Bird and John Havlicek in the 20,000-point club.
"It was an emotional moment for me, tough for me to swallow," said Pierce, who scored 12 of Boston's 14 points in OT. "You don't see it too often where a player accomplishes that kind of feat playing with one team."
Ray Allen added 23 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo finished just shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 15 assists, and eight boards. Boston was without center Shaquille O'Neal (knee), who is listed as doubtful for Friday's contest.
In off the court news for the Celtics, forward Kevin Garnett got himself into some heat with Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva this week after tweeting that the former UConn star looked like a cancer patient. Villanueva, who is bald, suffers from alopecia universalis, a medical condition that results in hair loss. Garnett stated it was a "a major miscommunication", saying that Villanueva is cancerous to his team.
Garnett had 13 points and eight rebounds in almost 40 minutes against the Bucks. After tonight's game the Celtics will begin a four-game road trip against Oklahoma City, Dallas, Miami and Memphis. Boston is off to its best start since beginning last season with six straight wins.
Meanwhile, the Bulls will try to get back on track after having a two-game winning streak stopped with Thursday's 120-112 setback versus the New York Knicks in the finale of a three-game homestand at the United Center.
New York made it tough on Chicago by burying 16-of-24 three-pointers, while Toney Douglas hit five of them en route to a game-high 30 points. Bulls star guard Derrick Rose did his best to offset Douglas, finishing with 24 points and 14 assists. Taj Gibson had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who made 51.9 percent of their shots.
Luol Deng scored 17 points and Joakim Noah contributed 12 and 13 rebounds for Chicago, which will play just its second road game of the season tonight.
"We're disappointed with the way we played, but it's a long season," Deng said.
Bulls defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau will make his return to Boston after serving as assistant coach there the last three seasons under Doc Rivers. Thibodeau helped guide the Celtics to an NBA title a few years ago and took over for Vinny Del Negro, who was fired on May 4 following two seasons in the Windy City.
Chicago and Boston split four matchups a season ago, but the Celtics have won eight of the last 11 encounters. These two teams have split the last 10 contests at TD Garden.