The Bulls Need To Win Game Three

Team can't afford to give Celtics confidence

The duel between former University of Connecticut guards at the end of game two in the Bulls-Celtics playoff series on Monday night was an epic battle that most basketball fans were probably hoping would never end.  Ben Gordon and Ray Allen took turns nailing big shot after bigger shot, but in the end it was Ray Allen who hit the biggest shot and helped the Celtics even the series at a game apiece.

Now the series comes to the United Center on Thursday night, and make no mistake about it, it's a huge game for the Bulls.  While the goal of winning at least one game in Boston was achieved by the Bulls, it's incredibly important that they take back any momentum the defending champs may have stolen in game two.

It's not often that the third game in a seven game series has any major significance, but it does for home team tonight.  While the Bulls can't win the series on Thursday night, they can lose it.  The game one victory and all the confidence that's come with it can be washed away with one bad night at the United Center, along with home-court advantage in the series.

Even though they would never admit it publicly, the Celtics have to be wondering if they can beat the Bulls in a seven-game series at this point.  Without Kevin Garnett in the lineup their defense has been non-existent, and now they're even thinner in the frontcourt with news that Leon Powe will miss the rest of the playoffs as well.  Throw in the fact that Paul Pierce looks worn out after having to do so much heavy-lifting in Garnett's absence -- not to mention the fact that John Salmons is making him work for everything on both ends of the court -- with Rajon Rondo's ankle injury, and there has to be doubt somewhere within their minds.

A victory tonight in Chicago would erase those doubts and give them their confidence back.

Thankfully things have been working quite well for the Bulls at the United Center over the season's final stretch, as the team has compiled a 14-2 record there in their last 16 games, including a win over the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics.  They can't afford to have any kind of relapse tonight and must bring the same kind of energy with them as they had in Boston.  Oh, and boxing out Kendrick Perkins wouldn't hurt either.

Along with writing for, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us