February 12, 2012 – By Scott
The first and only time Chicago and Boston met in NBA action this season, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose led a fourth quarter surge to give his team a 88-78 win. However, when these two meet again on Sunday afternoon in Boston, how much he will be able to contribute is in question.
The Bulls (23-6) possess the league’s best record and are winding up their nine-game road trip with a visit to TD Garden. Rose has been experiencing back pain and even led to him missing Friday’s win over Charlotte and playing just sparingly in their previous two games. Consequently, his status for Sunday will likely be a game-time decision.
“I really don’t know,” Rose said before Saturday’s practice. “When I wake up, I usually can tell. I’ll probably know by the time I wake up.”
Rose is leading the Bulls with 22.0 points per game but not having him on the court has not hindered Chicago. The Bulls have won five straight heading into Sunday afternoon’s showdown.
As for the Celtics (14-12), before Thursday they had gotten on hot streak and had won 9 of 10 games. That streak ended on Thursday as they fell to the Lakers in overtime and then followed that performance with a 86-74 loss to Toronto. They never led in the loss to the Raptors and their big three of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen combined for just 23 points.
“We just didn’t show the mental toughness,” Pierce said. “We feel like we’re getting so close to being the team we want to be and to take a couple of steps back is definitely frustrating. These are games we’re supposed to win.”
Getting back on the winning side might be tough against a Chicago team that is arguably the best team in the league right now. They are getting 97.3 points per game which is 9th in the NBA , as well as ranking 3rd in points allowed at 86.9.
The Celtics are getting just 90.0 points per game which ranks 26th in the NBA. Their defense though is where they have shined all year and lead the league with just 86.6 points allowed per game.
NBA Betting Lines have tagged Chicago as 4-point favorites on the road at Boston.