The Chicago Bulls finish off their nine game road trip with a game in Boston against the Celtics. The Celtics looked like they were rolling up until a couple a games ago when they dropped games to the Lakers and Raptors.
Derrick Rose couldn't commit to playing the game at his last interview point and was held out in a move Thibodeau called "precautionary" against the Bobcats on Friday.
The Bulls can beat the Celtics with or without Rose
The Celtics don't get easy baskets. They aren't going to get out on the break, and they aren't going to get many second chance points. Without having a source for easy points, the Celtics will struggle to score on the Bulls vaunted defense.
With a fully healthy Rose, the Celtics can't keep up with Chicago on the break either, and the Bulls would beat them nine times out of ten on both ends of the court.
If Derrick can't go or is limited, the Bulls still have an excellent change to win the game. The Celtics will still struggle to score on the Bulls defense, but the Bulls will now have similar troubles on the other end.
Can Boozer and Noah step up against a good defense?
Over the past four or five games we've seen Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer play big on the offensive end of the court. However, they've done so against some pathetic front courts and poor team defenses.
They now need to prove the turnaround is for real against a real team defense. Especially if Rose misses the game, the Bulls ability to win will likely rest in the hands of Boozer/Noah and how well they contribute to the offense.
Battle of the reserve Forwards
Luol Deng and Paul Pierce were selected as the two all-star reserve forwards, Pierce for his offense, Deng for his defense. The Celtics best chance to win rides on whether or not Pierce's offense can overcome Deng's defense. My prediction is no.
Pierce may get his points, but I doubt he gets them efficiently with Deng shadowing him all game long. Meanwhile, Luol Deng has been on fire recently, particularly from the three point line. If Deng wins this matchup, the game is all but over for the Celtics.
Prediction, Bulls win
The Celtics are a good team, but a healthy Bulls team is simply in another class. A Bulls team without Rose will struggle, but I think even if that's the case they find a way to get it done.