If you're a Chicagoan, or anyone with an affiliation to Cubs baseball, the Bulls trekking to Boston on a Wednesday evening for game four of the regular season may seem highly trivial at present.
By chance, if watching guys occasionally run around something resembling diamond buried within sand isn't your thing, the Bulls facing the Celtics in an early season rematch should have you covered.
Searching for their fourth consecutive win to start the season, a feat not accomplished since the 1996-97 season, the Bulls will need to replicate their game-plan from last weeks win by dominating the boards and producing second-chance opportunities for the offense.
Winning the rebounding battle will be made somewhat easier with the omission of Celtics center Al Horford, who will miss the game after copping a blow in practice, causing concussion. Horford, the Celtics' prize free agency acquisition, will be sorely missed, though perimeter defensive ace Marcus Smart will make his season debut after overcoming an ankle injury.
The Bulls, too, will have their own injury concerns. Michael Carter-Williams, who sustained a knee injury in the blowout win against the Brooklyn Nets, will miss tonight, as well as the next month, at minimum. Doug McDermott will also be out for the Bulls. Having gone through the concussion protocol himself, McDermott was unable to pass a fitness test prior to the game commencing, a process mandated by the league in order to be cleared for tonight's game.
While injuries may play a part in determining the eventual victor, should the Bulls continue their rebounding dominance and terrific ball movement, they will have a serious chance at maintaining their current winning ways.
Collecting three consecutive wins to begin the season may not have been unfathomable when looking at the schedule, but the manner in how the Bulls have been winning, to a degree, has been a surprise. The shooting has been blistering and the overall offense is humming along the top of league rankings in offensive rating after one week of NBA action. The passing has been brilliant, with the majority of the Bulls' field goals being assisted, a sign of chemistry, cohesion and quality coaching.
So long as the defense and rebounding maintains -- which should be possible against a poor rebounding team like the Celtics -- the Bulls will be able to convert defensive stops into efficient transition scores and methodical halfcourt sets, which has been the highlight of the young season to date.