Bulls (10-21, 3-13 on the road) at Boston (26-9, 13-4 at home)
TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Neil Funk and Stacey King 6:30 CT.
RADIO: WLS 890 AM: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6PM CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Mirotic: 19 ppg. Boston: Irving: 24 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 7. Boston: Horford: 7.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 5. Boston: Horford: 5.
LAST MEETING: Without Kyrie Irving the Celtics scored only 85 points as the Bulls blistered the Celtics 108-85. A huge second quarter by the Bulls put the game to bed as the Celtics scored only 13 points in the period. Mirotic and Portis combined for 47 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie sensation Jayson Tatum went 1-7 from the field. Lauri Markkanen sat out with back spasms.
CCI KEYS TO THE GAME: Despite Thursday’s loss at Cleveland, Head Coach Fred Hoiberg’s unit played well. No one can question the effort. Developing a culture as the Bulls move forward in the process is important and showing effort. Energy and attention to detail are staples in which this coaching staff strives for each day. The Celtics are one tired basketball team and yet the grind continues. Both teams are playing their third game in four nights. The Bulls will get a much needed two day break before resuming play on December 26 in Milwaukee. I’m looking forward to the matchup featuring Kris Dunn and Kyrie Irving. The Celtics-Cavs trade bringing Irving to Boston was intriguing, daring and yet we won’t know who “won” the trade until we see how Cavs management handle the Brooklyn first round pick which Cleveland holds. Al Horford always plays well against the Bulls but I think the Bulls bench will rise to the occasion with the game being decided late in the fourth quarter.
CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: These two teams are headed in opposite directions. The Celtics have lost five out of their last nine. The Bulls had their seven game win streak end in Cleveland Thursday in a thriller. It will be interesting to see what kind of performance the Celtics turn in against the Bulls. The Celtics bench has not produced, ranking 23rd in the NBA in bench scoring, shooting 37%, 31%-3 point range. Jaylen Brown told the Boston Globe he expects to play tonight after missing the Knicks game on Thursday with an Achilles issue.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
The MVP race is on and we’ve got James, Harden, Giannis and now KD. With Curry sidelined, Durant is ballin' putting up big time numbers. Golden State won its 11th straight beating the Lakers. His stat sheet-33 points- 7 rebounds- 7 assists- 4 blocks.
The Bucks went on a 9-0 run to end the game to beat the Hornets.
Westbrook nailed a 3 with 1.7 seconds left as OKC beat ATL.
James Harden with his second straight 51 point game but Austin Rivers torched the Rockets with a career high 36-30 in the second half as LAC beat Houston.
Solid defense by Detroit at crunch time enabled the Pistons to beat the Knicks.
The wheels are off the Magic (like big time)- seven straight losses as NOLA gets the W.
Brooklyn blasted the on again/off again Wizards.
Portland now 7-10 at home. Playing without Lillard, the Blazers got hammered by Jokic and the Nuggets.
The Mavs lost their 24th game as Minnesota picks up another win.
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Always a pleasure and Go Bulls!