Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics Game 2 Preview and Pick

Chicago Bulls +8.5 (41-41) at Boston Celtics -8.5 (62-20) O/U 196.5 7 PM ET Monday April 20, 2009 on TNT

by Jason Green of

The Bulls lead the best of 7 series 1-0

Tonight the Bulls play in Boston to try to take a 2-0 lead over the defending champion Celtics. Man, what a shock in game 1, as the Bulls took advantage of the Garnett-less Celtics. KG was sorely missed, especially on defense and Ray Allen left his game at home. The Celtics need to regroup and get back to playing solid defense in order to win game 2 tonight.

It is not a good sign that the Celtics lost to the 7th seeded Bulls in their opening game, as even if they get by the Bulls in the first round, how far can they go without KG being their defensive stopper? Derrick Rose made a huge splash in his playoff debut. For the Celtics this is, pretty much, a must win game, as if they head to the Windy City down 0-2 their chances of repeating as champions are pretty slim.

This season the Celtics were 35-6 at home and the Bulls were 13-28 in away games.

Hoops bookies have the Celtics favored by 8.5 points with a total around 196.5. The Celtics are posted at -360 as home favorites and the Bulls are posted at +280 as road dogs.

The Bulls beat the Celtics in game 1 of this series 105-103 in OT. The high scorer for the bulls in that game was Derrick Rose blowing up for 36 points and also dishing out 11 assists. For the game the Bulls shot 41/96 from the field for a FG% of 42.7%. The high scorer for the Celtics in game 1 was Rajon Rondo going for 29 points on 12/21 shooting. For the game the Celtics were pretty cold shooting 39/99 from the floor for a FG% of 39.4%.

This season the Bulls ranked 8th in scoring (102.2 ppg) and the Celtics ranked 11th (100.9 ppg). On defense the Celtics ranked 3rd in points allowed (93.4 ppg) and the Bulls only ranked 21st (102.5 ppg). This season the Celtics were a much better team on the boards, as they had a rebounding differential of +4.5 rpg, while the Bulls were only at -0.7 rpg.

This season the Celtics were 42-39-1 ATS and the Bulls were 41-39-2. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Celtics were 41-40-1 and the Bulls were 45-37.

On the injury front PF Kevin Garnett is Out for the Celtics while the Bulls are not reporting any significant injuries.

You could tell that the Celtics really missed having KG in the middle, as Derrick Rose slashed his way to the hoop for 36 points and the frontcourt of the Bulls dominated the lane. Bulls PF Tyrus Thomas went for 16 points and 6 boards and C Joakim Noah had a great game going for 11 points, 17 boards, and 3 blocked shots. Thomas even had 6 of Chicagos 8 points in OT. Think KG would let that happen if he was in the lineup? Sure, Glen Davis (18 points) and Kendrick Perkins (18 points) had good games on offense, but their defense is what killed the Celtics.

Well, the Celtics need to go on without KG, but one of the other Big 3 in Ray Allen needs to show up tonight. In the game 1 loss Allen went for 4 points and missed 11 of his 12 shots.

The Celtics bench also needs to play better in game 2, as in game 1 they only scored 15 points on 5/19 shooting.

The Celtics did play decent perimeter D, held Ben Gordon to only 6/17 shooting, and did force 16 turnovers, but they were out-rebounded (43-35) and allowed the Bulls frontcourt to have their way in the lane on offense.

One of the main reasons the game was so close is that Rajon Rondo was stellar almost going for a triple double with 29 points, 9 boards, and 7 assists. Paul Pierce also had a decent game going for 23 points.

The keys for the Celtics winning game 2 are their interior defense and Ray Allens scoring. If they can toughen up on D and Allen can drain some jumpers the Celtics should be in good shape. If they play interior D tonight like they did on Saturday they may be heading back to Chicago down 0-2.

Jason’s Pick: What nobody is talking about is how the Bulls were one of the hottest teams in the NBA coming into the playoffs. They SHOULD cover this 8.5 spread easily.