Bulls vs Celtics 7pm on TNT, Rose, Garnett likely out

Bulls vs Celtics 7pm on TNT, Rose, Garnett likely out

Tonight's matchup will likely feature each team missing one of its heavy weights. Derrick Rose will likely miss the game for the Bulls while Kevin Garnett should sit for the Celtics. Obviously, the Bulls will feel the greater impact of the two.

Your Derrick Rose injury update

Rose is still likely out for tonight based on Wednesday's report. He's commented that he's not all that flexible and needs to do a better job stretching to help out with his back. He also said the Bulls wanted to give him a cortisone shot, but he decided against it because of a fear of shots.

Rose expects to be over his back problems within a couple of days, but with the all-star break looming, it might make sense to just let him sit out the final four games prior to the break. Especially, if he's already out tonight.

Does Chicago feel must win pressure?

By my count the Bulls have lost their last five games against potential playoff teams (Atlanta, Indy, Miami, Philly, and Boston). They beat the Knicks pre-Lin when they were playing terrible basketball. I get the feeling that the Bulls aren't really all that concerned about that fact.

I think they now know there's no such thing as a big regular season game, and they're just slogging through the season, trying to fight through the rotating door of injuries and make it to the playoffs healthy.

That's probably the right approach.

Carlos Boozer needs to be active

With KG likely out for the Celtics, Carlos Boozer will be going up against Jajuan Johnson and Chris Wilcox all night long. Both proved that they're willing to play with 10x Boozer's hustle last week, and Carlos needs to get his ass back on defense this week to prevent a bunch of easy baskets.

If he does that, neither player should be much of a scoring threat.

On the offensive end, Boozer should dominate this pair. Neither are strong defenders or have particularly great size. I look for Boozer to carry a strong scoring load, particularly if Rose can't go.

Joakim Noah should keep rolling

The Celtics don't have anyone to match up with Noah's size/athleticism which should lead to another quality game for Jo. I look for him to hit the offensive glass hard and have a big offensive rebounding night. The Celtics lack big man depth, and without Garnett may look to play small.

Recently, Noah has killed teams who've gone small and defended him with a guard/forward by posting them up and effortlessly scoring over them. Hopefully that trend continues if Boston attempts small ball.

What's the game plan against Rondo?

The Bulls will need a lot of help from the front court to derail Rondo who's played well recently. C.J. Watson should continue to go under screens, but the Bulls will need the help defense to step up when he gets going to the basket.

I'd probably live with the result if Rondo goes off with his jump shot, but the Bulls need to keep him away from the basket of the dribble by running shot blockers at him when he gets into the paint.

Easier said then done, especially since you can't really leave Allen or Pierce on the perimeter.

Can the Bulls get anything from the perimeter?

Ronnie Brewer's been missing dunks left and right, C.J. Watson has struggled shooting anything but threes, and Luol Deng had a dog of a game the first time around. The Bulls need a way to find some perimeter offense.

Kyle Korver's been on a roll with his shot, but Boston's good enough fundamentally to not give him many open looks or opportunities.

The best bets for Chicago's perimeter scoring lie in Deng/Watson's hands, and they'll simply need to perform much better than they did the last game against the Celtics.

Prediction? Bulls win

My predictions are worthless of course, but I think the Bulls have this one. The Celtics missing Garnett may not equate to the Bulls missing Rose, but the Bulls are a much better team with everyone healthy.

Meanwhile, Chicago is playing at home on a day of rest, and Boston just played [and lost] yesterday to the Pistons. All the intangibles are in the Bulls favor.

That doesn't make it an easy game. Boston has a ton of talent, and if the Bulls can't find their perimeter offense or struggle on the interior they could suddenly find it very difficult to score.

Much unlike the Kings game which was an incredible shoot out, I predict something closer to 84-79 tonight.

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  • ...and cue Johnson having a career game in 3, 2, 1!

  • Interesting point Doug makes about Noah carving up smaller "bigs" down low. If he does get back to pre-injury November Jo(pre-Sacramento) he'll have to show he can score on bigger, more capable defenders as well.

    I know the Noah obsession is overstated gauging the lack of comments, but you used to see Noah hit baseline hooks in almost every game no matter who was defending him. Still not seeing those hooks though. And only one driving hook(against the Kings) if not this season then in some time. He's more then a tip-in guy to me if he's November Jo, but maybe that's overblown as I sense many posters and media would claim he's simply an "energy" guy.

    Maybe that guy we saw, or at least I saw was just in a zone. He certainly hasn't been a driver in the half court from the high post or off screens, curls etc. this year. And the absence of the baseline hooks is huge. I know many will say Jo has never really been a guy to create his own offense signicantly, but I will say he did in spurts particularly that torrid start last season pre-injury.

    If he was considered an All-Star in any way, shape or form I think whether people realize it or not more then rebounds or in some ways limited defense, there was some scoring prowess as well. We sure as hell need a reliable post scorer because neither Boozer nor Taj since his rookie season have been that. And Taj needs to get back to scoring down low, and not settling for jumpers as he has done for some time.

    I will say recently Taj and Booz have both shown some scoring down low. Final thought: I'm bummed that post Carmelo blanketing by Jimmy Butler and that critical late game shot we haven't seen much of him at all. Of course, without Rose, we know Thibs is going to be "batten down the hatches" and six guys are lucky to see significant minutes. Besides Butler can't guard a bigger Paul Pierce or certainly not Rondo..?

    I sure hope Rondo doesn't torch us again, and C.J. needs to step it up and bring the scoring and assists per minute guy we've seen as a starter with 25 plus minutes. I hope Jo plays 35 minutes tonight of course staying out of foul trouble with D.B. refs. Taj gets one of the worst shafting jobs by the refs I've ever seen IMO.

    I wish J.B. would get some plays run for him to get him relaxed, and just make sure there's not a scorer who can help us, but I know scouts, media etc. perceive him as a non-scorer who cannot create his own shot. We'll see. If it was meant to be it will be. Just hopefully not with another team down the road. If Brewer's shooting and offensive numbers weren't going down the toilet it wouldn't be as big of an issue with me.

    I sure hope they beat Boston tonight. Garnett or not, I hate Rondo and the shitty Celtics. Luol Deng we need another statement game All-Star like showing please. 11 Assists was nice now add 15 points and 8 rebounds. Ha, ha. Seriously though 11 dimes was a some nice coin dropped by Lu.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    A few thoughts about Noah:
    1. I think he is under-utilized on offense. He does miss some shots but not anything less than what others do. I think he should be taking a few more jump-shots and his jump-shot shooting percentage will be still decent. The question is whose shots does he take away? Maybe it is some of Boozer's shots to keep the defense off-balance
    2. Noah himself claimed he is not the most talented guy(he knows the reality). That tells that he understands that he has to be perfect in other things for him to be effective. I think one of the under-utilized aspects of his game is his ball-handling. He just takes the pass from the outside and waits for Rose to get free to pass it to him. He needs to fake the defense a little more and drive it in a little bit and pass it to the open guy.almost like a PG.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree Noah's handle for a big is pretty good where he can advance the ball in transition ocassionally, and create some havoc. Just has to pick his spots. That's where those running hooks or layins really can be devestating.

    I also agree Joakim is not the most talented or skilled player by any means. But mentally, I think he is capable of boosting his game to an elite level. That's why I think he could elevate or Bill Russell his playoff offense(on a much smaller scale of course). If he gets in that mental zone then I think he could be devestating especially against Miami. But, the absence of baseline hooks and running hooks down the lane are still huge and sorely missed if Jo is to be an All-Star or near presence for the Bulls. Not seeing it yet, though his very, very good player status as Mr. Double Double has returned IMO.

    I will say personally I think the cyclone or jump shot of Joakim as part of his game is overstated. One or two a game when his other offense is clicking is fine. But he takes the shot too far away from the basket as in convenient ala Taj. He needs to practice making himself available and hitting from the free throw line and in. The opps are there with extreme sagging he sees often.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Do you trust Noah's cyclone shot or Boozer's rainbow shot to go in more? I think both have almost the same percentage or maybe Noah's cyclone shot has a better chance of going in. It is also because Noah is probably more wide open and he is probably shooting over a smaller defender compared to Boozer.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    RoadWarrior you have a lot of interesting thoughts. The thought about Jimmy Butler interested me the most because I agree with you--especially after we see Jeremy Lin get a playing oportunity. I'm bummed also that the post Carmelo blanketing by Jimmy Butler and after that critical late game shot--that we haven't seen much of him at all. Isn't that what coach's want out of young players, to play well when called upon?--now if Deng and/or Brewer gets hurt for the season, Butler has no momentum--nor confidence to play in their place sitting on the bench day and night. Does not playing Butler mean that the Bulls are focusing on wins and not developing a championship orientated team? Could it be that Thibs and Bull's management know that in Butler they have a future good player and they are hesitant to play the kid especially when looking at a potential near future trade--in other words they are hiding him somewhat?
    And I also agree with schaumburgfan to the point, looking at Jeremy Lin.... wouldn't it be better if the Bulls have some young promising players on the tail-end of the bench rather than Scalabrine who could be a coach. These young players might not become a stars/everday starters like Lin but maybe someone who might fit in a role and win a playoff game or two for Rose and complements team need two years from now. I also remember Jermaine O'Neal backing up Rasheed Wallace/others in Portland. I also know that's one place where the dynasty Bulls failed--and the team's future lacked some planning. Even a good young two guard would look awfully good right now--a guy who is already is strong offensively who could learn to play defense. Developing a stronger bench means we are focusing on the playoffs and not just a look of meaningless wins.
    No one is asking how many wins does Phil Jackson have--we just want to know how many championships.

  • One other note: as the NBA draft and evaluating college prospects is my thing(I really just don't get see Euros much), I always want to believe that "the guy" is out there. Even possibly at No.28-30 which statistically is silly.

    Still, I admitted last year's draft looked thin. And my guys recently after Marcus Thronton and Taj, have been busts at least so far(Dominique Jones, Ekpe Udoh, and Luke Babbitt). Of course those were guys I thought might drop to the Bulls, but Udoh's stock rose higher. He still needs time of course, and is not yet by any means a bust. though his field goal percent. is abysmal.

    This year though, depending on who comes out, this could be a very, very deep draft even down to say No. 20. Maybe not three future All-Stars or HOF's obviously, but several good players. Of course the Bulls want ready players not developmental guys. But if you draft very well then very possibly that means a guy who at least can give you something right off as Taj did. I know the Bulls probably go Euro stash once again, and there's no way they try to dump some contracts of rotational guys to move up or gain picks.

    Still, as the All-Star break comes and March beckons aka Tournament time, it's nice to imagine who the Bulls might get though in reality will trade the pick or stash in Europe. I will say my pick this year would have been JuJuan Johnson. Norris Cole was exciting, but he's personality wise uh, not great, from what I saw anyway. Jimmy Butler isn't getting much burn, but will see, he's shown some signs.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    To this point, looking at Jeremy Lin.... wouldn't it be better if the Bulls have some young promising player on the tail-end of the bench rather than Scalabrine or Mike James. He might not become a star/everday starter like Lin but maybe someone who might fit in a role and win a playoff game or two for Rose and complements Rose two years from now. I always remember Jermaine O'Neal in Portland who was behind Rasheed Wallace/others to never get a chance. I think that's one thing where the dynasty Bulls failed.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I'd rather have vets. If you get a Jeremy Lin that's obviously better, but how frequent is that? Lin's one of a kind.

    I think you're far more likely to get a Kurt Thomas like performance out of a vet than a solid performance out of a young 'potential' guy.

    It also depends what type of other pieces you have. The Bulls have plenty of athletic young types, getting some consistent guys I think helps them more for the deep bench.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    And look at the game Mike James had tonight.

    It was a silly and foolish decision to cut Mike James the day before the Miami game - in which John Lucas XXVIII cost the Bulls 8-10 points in just 3 minutes, and very likely the game.

    Keeping Lucas while cutting James was a non-basketball decision. And I was very vocal at the time in disagreeing with cutting Mike James. He was OBVIOUSLY much better than Lucas can ever be. Yet Bulls recently guaranteed Lucas' contract for the duration.

    Mike James is a backup PG that can play in the playoffs! Will Bulls have the wisdom to keep him?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    O.K, don't take this the wrong way, but when are you 2 getting married.

  • Bulls lose to Celtics but Detroit can beat them. How many playoff type teams have the Bulls beat this year? Exactly not many. It's becoming more and more obvious that this team is not going to make a push at bringing anymore talent or skilled players. Rose will probably have a serious back injury and be out of the league within the next 2 to 3 years because the Bulls never took the time to surround a guy with some help so he doesnt have to break his back getting to the hoop. Why does this stuff happen in Chicago so often. I have never seen a team where mostly all of the players wanna shoot jumpers and nobody attacks the rim to score and get to the foul line. That is how you win championships by attacking the basket which = free throws which = win

  • In reply to jclass62:

    This stuff happens all the time in the NBA. Milwaukee Bucks beat the Heat; Bulls kill the Bucks; therefore, Bulls should slaughter the Heat!? All these teams have NBA players, and many of them are capable of having a great night.
    Honestly, the Bulls 1) have had multiple injuries; 2) have played more road games than anyone; and have the best record in the East! Likely no one would have predicted their standing with all the negatives. I think we all would have taken their record with those disadvantages!
    If, and it is a big if, they can get everyone healthy for the playoffs, they can beat anyone. They almost beat the Heat in Miami with key players out.
    However, it would be nice to trade for Howard -- even if it costs them this year (they will have to give up a lot), it should set the future up.

  • In reply to jclass62:

    Against playoff teams:
    Wins: Lakers, Clippers, Hawks, Magic, Celtics (x2)
    Losses: Heat, 76ers, Hawks, Pacers, Celtics

    Of the losses, Derrick Rose was out for one of the games, Hamilton for maybe all but the Heat game [not sure without looking], Deng for three of them.

    I mean if you want to worry, you can worry, but if the Bulls are healthy, I feel extremely confident that they win a series against anyone but the Heat.

  • CJ Watson getting exposed by Rondo and also when teams scheme against him. He seems very limited if his shot is off. Mike James looking like a stud for a few mins

  • Beastly games tonight by Noah, Deng and Boozer. Both Noah and Boozer missed their fair share of gimmies, but absolutely dominated the glass and were each incredibly efficient with their passing. I really enjoyed watching Boozer drive to the basket instead of relying on the jump shot all night.

  • Deng took 509 games to get his first 10 assist game ... then goes and does it again straight away. What are the odds of that?

  • Look at the game PG Mike James had tonight.

    It was a silly and foolish decision to cut Mike James the day before the Miami game. CJ Watson was injured, and John Lucas XXVIII cost the Bulls 8-10 points in just 3 minutes, and very likely the game.

    Keeping Lucas while cutting James was a non-basketball decision.
    At the time I was very vocal on this blog in disagreeing with cutting Mike James. He was OBVIOUSLY much better than Lucas can ever be. Yet Bulls recently guaranteed Lucas' contract for the season.

    Meanwhile, Mike James is shutting down Rajon Rondo while on a 10-day contract. Mike James is a backup PG that can play in the playoffs!
    Will Bulls have the wisdom to keep him? Or will the Lucas and Scalabrini nepotism of Thibs rule the day once again?

    Deng 44 minutes, Jimmy Butler 0.
    Noah 40 minutes, Asik 8.
    Let's hope these numbers change for New Jersey.

  • Doug, I would like to suggest to you that the volume of posts on your blog is noticeably down because of the ridiculous sensitivity of the comment limiting algorithm on this site.

    You simply cannot make 2 comments in a row, and you can certainly not have a free flowing conversation or a game thread.

    As the blogger, I assume that you would prefer that you get all the comments that you can. Is this a technology limitation or just bureaucratic meddling.

    Can you do anything about it, do you want to?

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