Celtics Host Bulls in Rematch of Epic Playoff Series

Celtics Host Bulls in Rematch of Epic Playoff Series Last time the Celtics took on the Chicago Bulls, the results were unforgettable.

In the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last spring, the two teams met for seven games, seven overtime periods, and an eventual series win for the grizzled Celtics. But last time, there was no Kevin Garnett. The C's are fully loaded this time around, with Garnett and the rest of the gang ready to prove that they can handle this Chicago team.

When and Where

Friday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records

Celtics (2-0, 1st place in Atlantic Division)
Bulls (1-0, T-1st place in Central Division)

Head To Head

Prior to their meeting in the first round of the playoffs last spring, the Celtics and Bulls squared off three times in the regular season, with the home team winning all three. The Celtics captured blowout wins in two meetings in 2008, but the Bulls came back with a shootout victory, 127-121, in Garnett's absence on March 17, 2009.

Skinny

These are the same Bulls as last year — only, they're not. They still have their mature young point guard in Derrick Rose and their stingy interior defense with Joakim Noah, Brad Miller and Tyrus Thomas — but there's one glaring difference between this year's Chicago team and last year's. That would be the absence of Ben Gordon, who skipped town this summer and signed with the Detroit Pistons. Gordon played all 82 games last year and all seven in the postseason, averaging 24.3 points per playoff game. He'll certainly be missed.

Projected Starters

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Bulls
Point guard: Derrick Rose
Shooting guard: John Salmons
Small forward: Luol Deng
Power forward: Tyrus Thomas
Center: Joakim Noah

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics were 12-6 against Central Division opponents last year.

Rajon Rondo is shooting 64.3 through two games this season.

Kevin Garnett has six blocks.

Paul Pierce is averaging 19 points per game.

Kendrick Perkins has averaged 6.4 points and 5.8 rebounds for his career against the Bulls.

Ray Allen has scored 19.4 points per game against them. He's shot 41.5 percent from three-point range.

Bulls

The Bulls averaged 102.2 points per game last year, eighth-most in the NBA.

They were 9-9 against Atlantic Division teams.

Derrick Rose
averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game last year en route to Rookie of the Year honors.

Joakim Noah averaged 7.6 rebounds per game and grabbed 10 rebounds in Chicago's opening win over the Spurs on Thursday.

Tyrus Thomas had 151 blocks, fourth in the NBA.

Luol Deng
led the Bulls with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting in their 92-85 win over San Antonio in Thursday night's opener.

John Salmons had 10 points and a game-high three steals.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Glen Davis
is out indefinitely. The forward injured his right thumb in a private altercation with a friend this week.

There is no set timetable for the return of Tony Allen, who is nursing an ankle injury.

Brian Scalabrine is day-to-day with a sprained ankle.

Bulls
Derrick Rose is back in action. An ankle tendon injury forced him to miss three weeks of the preseason.

Aaron Gray
sustained a fractured left fibula on Sept. 29. He will likely still be out for another two to four weeks.

This Date in Celtics History

In 2002, the Celtics suffered an ugly loss in their season opener against the Bulls, scoring just 12 points in the fourth quarter and blowing a late lead to lose 99-96. Paul Pierce — who led the C's with 28 points, seven assists and seven boards – is the only player remaining on either team today, seven years later.

Overheard

"Shelden was a high draft pick for a reason, and he was a dominant player in college for a reason. My job, our staff's job, is to get that out of him. It's in there. He has a great opportunity to do it with this team."
–Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in the Providence Journal, on forward Shelden Williams. Williams has seen more playing time in the absence of the injured Glen Davis.

Press Box

Celtics
Glen Davis can learn from his mistake.

It's Shelden Williams' time to shine.

Kendrick Perkins is getting the job done.

Bulls
Derrick Rose was just being himself.

The Bulls look to build on last spring.

John Salmons is ready for more.

NBA
The Tim Donaghy scandal never ends.

The Cavs are 0-2, and LeBron James' future hangs in the balance.

The Nets are locking down their young talent.

Outlook

When these two teams meet, it seems the only question you can ask is: How many overtimes? But that may not be the case anymore. With Kevin Garnett healthy again, the Celtics will be poised to land a statement win on their home court.

Yardbarker

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