The Chicago Bulls are in Boston on Friday night to take on the Celtics. These two teams have a lot of intertwined history and have played some great games over the years, but this season neither squad has been the juggernaut of days past.
Whenever the Bulls and Celtics meet on the court, the games are always tough and usually somewhat close. The two have already met twice this season with both games being played in Chicago.
Back in November, the Celtics won 101-95. The two met again at the United Center seven days before Christmas and the Bulls were victorious, 100-89.
From there, the Celtics have struggled – although they have played well of late – and now find themselves in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings at 20-18. Meanwhile, the Bulls, despite being up-and-down this year, are currently fourth in the East standings at 22-15.
In the two previous meetings, Boston was without one of their key players in guard Avery Bradley who sat out both contests still recovering from an injury to his troublesome shoulder. Bradley is primarily known for his defense, but he has an offensive game that is still in development and rapidly improving.
Both teams are jockeying for position in the standings as we move closer to the midway point of the season, which is what makes Friday night’s game so important. There’s a substantial gap between eighth and ninth place in the Eastern Conference, but there’s not much room between eighth and fourth place where the Bulls currently sit.
Chicago is trying to give themselves as much of an advantage as possible and ward off as many potential threats to their positioning as they can until D. Rose comes back, and going up 3-0 over Boston in the season series would certainly play to their advantage should things get a little hairy towards season’s end.
Of course the biggest question is which Bulls team will show up on Friday night. Will it be the suffocating defensive monster that on any given night can take a team completely out of what they do? Or will it be the squad that comes out flat from the jump ball and spends the entire game fighting an uphill battle, only to fall flat at the end?
Tom Thibodeau, who gave the team Thursday off as he celebrated his 55th birthday, is hoping that day of rest following the close win over the Raptors on Wednesday will have his team ready to go against a surging Celtics squad who come in winners of six of their last seven contests.
Follow “Outside Shot” on Twitter (@Outside_Shot) for more Bulls news and information.