Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics Game 3 Preview and Pick – 2009 NBA Playoffs

Boston Celtics +1.5 at Chicago Bulls -1.5 O/U 199 8 PM ET Thursday April 23, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at

This best of 7 series is tied at 1-1.

Tonight the Celtics are in the Windy City to take on the Bulls with this series ties at a game apiece. The Celtics beat the Bulls in game 2, but it was a costly win, as they lost Leon Powe to a knee injury and Rajon Rondo sprained his ankle. Even though the Celtics won the game they played into the style of the Bulls, as it was a high scoring game.

The Celtics won this year because of their defense, but in game 2 their defense left them and they had to score a ton of points to win. They did that in game 2, but can they do it for the whole series? Kevin Garnett is still out and the health of Rondo will be a big factor in tonight’s game. Even though Rondo is not one of the Big 3, he has played awesome in this series averaging a triple double in the 2 games in Boston (24 ppg 10.5 rpg 11.5 assists per game). He played in practice yesterday and will go tonight, but he needs to be at 100% for the Celtics to win game 3.


This season the Bulls are 28-13 at home and the Celtics are 27-14 on the road.

Hoops bookies have the Bulls as 1.5-point favorites tonight with a total of around 199. Both of these teams have a moneyline of -110 for this game.

In a game 2 shootout the Celtics beat the Bulls 118-115 to even the series. The high scorer for the Celtics in the game was Ray Allen going for 30 points on 9/18 shooting including 6/10 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. That is a tad of an improvement over his 4 point 1/12 performance in game 1. For the game the Celtics shot 47/96 for a FG% of 49%. The high scorer for the Bulls in game 1 was Ben Gordon going for 42 points on 14/24 shooting including 6/11 from downtown. For the game the Bulls shot 40/80 for a FG% of 50%.

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 and Leon Powe are Out and PG Rajon Rondo and PF Brian Scalabrine are day-to day for the Celtics while the Bulls are not reporting any significant injuries.

This season the Celtics were solid on defense, as their opponents only averaged 43% FG%, but in game 2 the Bulls shot 50% from the floor. With KG out the Celtics need to score big again like they did in game 2 where every starter had at least 16 points. Speaking of the Celtics starters they need to carry the majority of the load, as in game 2 the Boston bench only scored a total of 9 points.

The Celtics proved that they can score points, but they will make it much harder for the Bulls tonight if they can play a slow paced defensive game. If the Bulls can keep with the run and gun high scoring style of play they have a much better chance of winning.

One of the main reasons the Celtics won game 2 is they hit the boards hard. They had 50 rebounds and the Bulls only had 36. They will need to do that again tonight to win this game.

Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins stepped up in game 2, as they combined for 42 points and 21 boards. The Bulls won game 1 because PF Tyrus Thomas and C Joakim Noah won the battle of the boards, but in game 2 they only combined for 9 rebounds. The tandem that can dominate inside on the defensive end will give their team a huge advantage tonight.

The Celtics need to contain Ben Gordon and not let him have a huge scoring game like he did in game 2.

Ray Allen had a horrible game 1, but a great game 2 and the Celtics need his scoring, especially if the game becomes a shootout.

Jason’s Pick: The Bulls win this one!