GAME NIGHT FROM BOSTON: Bulls: (4-10, 2-4 on the road) at Boston: (7-6, 3-1 at home)
TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Adam Amin and Stacey King at 6:30 CT.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6:15 CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 27ppg. Boston: Irving: 21 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Carter Jr.: 7 per game. Boston: Tatum: 7 per game.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Arcidiacono: 4 per game. Boston: Irving: 5 per game.
CCI PREVIEW: This is the Bulls only visit to Boston this season and they're catching the Celtics coming off a 1-4 Western Conference road trip. The first game back from a lengthy excursion usually has a downside based on getting reacclimated with a new schedule, surroundings, etc. However in this case, the Celtics know they need to bring a sense of urgency especially on offense where they're ranked 25th in points per game averaging 105 per contest and shooting just 42% from the floor - 28th in the NBA. Gordon Hayward, returning from a serious leg injury sustained in the opener last season, is struggling in the early going as one would expect, as he hopes to regain the form that made him an elite player with Utah. Hayward is averaging 13 points per game but shooting just 39% from the field and 31% from 3-point range.
Following Sunday's loss at Portland, Boston's Marcus Smart addressed his teammates telling ESPN:
"We're no longer the hunter. We're the hunted now. Everybody is coming after us, everybody sees and reads what's been said and what we've done. And, rightfully so as competitors, they take it as a disrespect to them, they want to go out and prove what they can do, so we're going to get everybody's best game. And if we're not expecting that then, we're going to continue to keep going into these deficits and getting our ass kicked.”
The Bulls must bring their own sense of urgency. Big time. Boston is in a bad mojo and they're out to correct that tonight. The Bulls offense has failed to score 100 points in each of their last two games. At times the Bulls settle for isolation instead of passing the ball. This is correctable and I'm sure you'll see a difference tonight. Zach LaVine continues to carry the load offensively as he looks for his 15th straight game of scoring 20+ points to start the season. A CCI thought... this is a great game for Wendell Carter Jr. to showcase his rapidly developing skills on the Celtics. In fact, the comparisons between Carter Jr. and Boston's Al Horford are so aligned it's amazing regarding the similarity of their respective games.
It's a tough stretch for the Bulls as they open up three straight against Eastern Conference powers in Boston, Milwaukee and Toronto. As they say, one game at a time. Tonight the focus is on the Celtics.
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Golden State 110, Atlanta 103: Kevin Durant with 29 points 6 rebounds. The Warriors suspended Draymond Green for one game after an intense verbal exchange with Durant. Green's replacement Jonas Jerebko had season bests of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Cleveland 113, Charlotte 89: Tristan Thompson has a monster game on the glass pulling down 21 boards for the victorious Cavs.
Houston 109, Denver 99: An impressive road win for the Rockets who have won 5 of 7. Denver has dropped four straight.