Gameday Dish: Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls

No Kevin Garnett. No Joakim Noah. No name calling. Just two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams, two of the NBA’s premier point guards, a healthy Carlos Boozer and a red hot rookie from Notre Dame. Boston’s 12th man Luke Harangody just came off the best game of his paid basketball career, finishing with a career high 17 points and 11 rebounds in Boston’s 122-102 win over Toronto last night.

Tonight at the United Center the Chicago Bulls will attempt to stop the Boston Celtics for the first time this season. The Celts have bested the boys in red and black twice already this 2010-11 campaign, both times in Beantown. In the Windy City, the Bulls are an impressive 15-3 and tough to beat, just like a local favorite – the Italian Beef sandwich.

However, the upstart Bulls are coming off two consecutive road losses to New Jersey and Philly. They haven’t dropped three straight yet this season, but are only 5-9 against teams above .500. And the C’s posses the NBA’s second best record, an impressive 21 games above the .500 mark. If Chicago hopes to do better than the end of season 41-41 records they’ve compiled the past two years, they’ll have to start taking down the elite teams now and then.

Coach Doc Rivers and the Green enter tonight’s contest on a four-game winning streak, continued last night at home with a blow out of the Toronto Raptors, 122-102.  In fact, other than the Bulls, the top six teams in the Eastern Conference are all on current win streaks of at least 3 games, with the Sunshine State cousins Miami and Orlando both riding 8 gamers.

So a Bulls’ victory tonight would help first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau’s guys keep pace in the suddenly take-no-prisoners East and give him his first W against the team he worked for as an associate head coach and defensive mastermind for the previous three seasons.

Boston leads the NBA in assists and points allowed, a potent, both-ends-of-the-floor combo.  However, Chicago will look to utilize their team rebounding powers (third in the NBA) against a Kendrick Perkins and KG-less Celtic (27th in rebounding) frontline. Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls will be televised on NBA TV at 8:00 PM ET.

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