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Keys To The Game: Bulls vs. Celtics (4.6.22)

The Bulls are looking to build some positive momentum as they head into the final three games of the regular season.

It was announced on Wednesday that point guard Lonzo Ball will be out for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. The news means it will be even more important for players like Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White and Patrick Williams to step up in Ball's absence.

Here's how Chicago matches up with the Celtics.

Lock in defensively

There is no sugarcoating it, the Bulls defense has been struggling for quite some time now. They rally together on certain nights, like in their recent 107-94 road win against the Wizards, but overall have struggled.

Chicago will need to lock-in against Jayson Tatum (27 PPG, 35% 3PT), Jaylen Brown (23.7 PPG, 36% 3PT) a Boston squad that has been playing with a ton of confidence as of late.

The main issue for the Bulls has been perimeter defenders allowing dribble-drive penetration, which in turn forces the defense to collapse. This opens up clean 3-point looks for the opposition. As they prepare for the postseason, the Bulls cannot be content with allowing open looks regardless of personnel.

We simply need to see greater effort on D from the Bulls, even if the results aren't perfect.

More Patrick Williams

The second-year forward has been playing better with each passing game. Following a double-double outing against the L.A. Clippers, Patrick Williams has had consecutive games with double-digit scoring and 5+ rebounds.

If Chicago wants to go deep into the postseason they will need the best version of Williams, even more so sans Lonzo Ball.

The Bulls don't need to force Williams too far out of comfort zone, simply a few more shot attempts and perhaps a couple of pick-and-roll possessions (ball-handler AND roll-man) will be enough to keep him in his current groove.

Attack switches/mismatches on offense

A huge part of the Celtics' stifling defense is their ability to switch all five positions on the floor, an ability that has taken a bit of a blow with the injury to starting Celtics center Robert Williams III. In his absence, former Bull Daniel Theis starts.

Theis has been decent defensively and when combined with the savvy Al Horford and the physically imposing Grant Williams, their center rotation is still solid. But their defense simply doesn't have the same ceiling without Williams' high-flying shot-blocking on the floor.

This means the Bulls need to get the ball to DeMar DeRozan, Coby White or any of their perimeter scorers if they get a big switched on to them.

This goes both ways as the Bulls guards and wings need to get the ball to Nikola Vucevic if he gets a smaller player on his back. This helps build confidence for Vucevic and is one of the surest ways of creating open 3-point shots.