The match up of the injured, although it seems the Boston Celtics are in a bit more of a problem at the moment when it comes to their hurt players, even when compared to the Chicago Bulls.
Both teams are missing their all-star point guards, although it’s nothing new for the Bulls, who have been missing Derrick Rose since last postseason. Kirk Hinrich with a hurt elbow has missed the last six games for Chicago (not the only players), who have gone 2-4 without him in the starting lineup Nate Robinson has been starting of late, but always a player you don’t really know what you’ll get from. Robinson is averaging 18.3 points over the last 10 games, but the Bulls’ problems are more in the form of running the offense.
They turned the ball over 19 times in the home loss to the San Antonio Spurs (103-89), and travel to Boston feeling a bit less confident about their defense, which has carried them through most of the season so far. Not having Marco Belinelli coming off the bench, the guy who the game at the buzzer the last time these two teams met, is hurting as well, as it feels like the offense is too often stuck and congesting in the middle, where the focal points of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are.
The Celtics were having a great run, despite losing Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger along the way. Now that Leandro Barbosa, getting a lot more minutes over the last few weeks which included 7 straight games, is also out for the season (torn ACL), the options Doc Rivers has to cover for Rondo are running out, being quite limited in the first place.
This just means that Jason Terry, Jeff Green and obviously the ever-present Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will have to put in even more of an effort, not just in scoring but in running the game. The Celtics lack a natural point guard, and will have to finish the season without one. Paul Pierce had a bad, 13 points game in the recent loss to the Bobcats.
Prediction – The Bulls have won the last two games against the Celtics, and if they manage to cut down on their turnovers, their advantage in the inside game should be enough to give them a tight win, despite missing key players as well.