1/15 Game Preview: Bulls at Celtics
Each coming off significant losses, the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics will attempt to get back in the win column when they meet Saturday night in Boston.
Eastern Conference-leading Chicago was blown out at home 138-96 by the Golden State Warriors while the Celtics fell 111-99 at home to Philadelphia, both games taking place Friday.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine exited against the Warriors with 8:28 left in the first quarter with a left knee injury. LaVine, who did not attempt a shot and went scoreless in four minutes, will not travel to Boston and instead undergo an MRI exam on Saturday.
NBC Sports Chicago reported that LaVine left the arena under his own power and told others he did not believe his injury was serious.
The Bulls were already without guard Alex Caruso (foot) and forwards Derrick Jones (bone bruise in right knee), Javonte Green (groin), Tyler Cook (ankle) and Patrick Williams (wrist).
"We're struggling defensively," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "With the amount of guys we have out, we're going to have to try to piece it together as best we can."
Coby White scored 20 points off the bench and Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 14 rebounds to pace Chicago in Friday's loss. Bulls leading scorer DeMar DeRozan finished with 17 points and seven assists and Lonzo Ball chipped in 15 points.
The loss was Chicago's second in a row and third in four games following its season-best nine-game winning streak.
Boston returns home after a 111-99 loss at Philadelphia on Friday that wasn't as close as the score made it seem.
After opening a six-point lead early, the Celtics ceded a 28-4 run to end the first quarter and never threatened after that. Philadelphia led by as many as 22 points in the second quarter and Boston was unable to pull within single digits down the stretch.
It snapped a three-game winning streak for Boston, which had won five of seven overall coming in.
"We haven't had one of these in a while. Poor game overall," Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. "Overall, the slow start obviously doomed us there. Just weren't sharp on both ends of the court, but I look at it more as an aberration than the norm."
Jaylen Brown had a team-high 21 points and Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics. Boston's All-Star duo entered the game averaging 51.8 points between them in their prior five outings.
Boston played without starting guard Marcus Smart for a second straight game. Smart missed Wednesday's tilt at Indiana with a right-thigh bruise, but was sidelined against Philadelphia in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol.
The Bulls and Celtics met once earlier this season, on Nov. 1 in Boston, with Chicago coming away with a 128-114 victory. Boston led 103-89 after three quarters before Chicago finished strong and outscored the hosts 39-11 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
DeRozan finished with a then-season-high 37 points on 15-of-20 shooting and LaVine added 26 points with seven assists for the Bulls. Brown totaled 28 points and seven boards and both Tatum and Al Horford contributed 20 points apiece for the Celtics