This year, the Bulls are playing for their playoff lives.
They're currently a half-game up on the Toronto Raptors for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Raps have the tiebreaker, and the Bulls desperately need a win to maintain their slight lead. The Bulls would love nothing more than a thrilling series in the first round of the East playoffs again this year, but they've got to make it first.
When and Where
Head to Head
Last year, the Celtics and Bulls played an epic first-round playoff series that featured seven overtimes in seven games. This season, they just can't buy a close one. Nothing but blowouts, everywhere you look. The Celtics won the first two meetings in this season series, 118-90 on Oct. 30 and 106-80 on Dec. 12, but the Bulls got revenge by way of a 96-83 win at the TD Garden on Jan. 14.
Rajon Rondo vs. Derrick Rose
The tough matchups just keep coming for Rajon Rondo — first Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee, now Rose. (And don't forget, he's got Jennings again Wednesday.) Rose is a tricky one for Rondo because he's a superb athlete, a great ball-handler and an aggressive offensive player that can slash his way to the basket and score. He's only 21, but he's already refined his game and become just as good a point guard as Rondo. The kid was the No. 1 overall pick two years ago for a reason.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point Guard: Derrick Rose
Shooting Guard: Kirk Hinrich
Small Forward: Luol Deng
Power Forward: Taj Gibson
Center: Joakim Noah
- Rajon Rondo, with 188 steals, now ranks 100th on the all-time single-season steals list. Among active players, only Chris Paul and Baron Davis have recorded more steals in a season.
- Ray Allen was 11-for-11 from the free-throw line against the Bucks on Saturday night. He has now made 42 consecutive attempts.
- Paul Pierce has averaged 20.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists against the Bulls in his career.
- Derrick Rose is leading the Bulls in points per game (20.4) and assists per game (6.0).
- Joakim Noah had 19 rebounds in the Bulls' win over the Raptors on Sunday night. He's averaging 13.0 per game in April.
- Luol Deng is averaging career highs in rebounds per game (7.3) and blocks per game (0.9).
Black and Blue
- Kevin Garnett was given Saturday night off as the Celtics beat the Bucks. He is likely to return Tuesday.
- The Bulls are fully healthy as they attempt to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs.
It's never easy for an older team like the Celtics to stop these Bulls. Between Rose, Deng and Taj Gibson, the Bulls are loaded with young, energetic guys that can take it to the hole. And in a game like this, with their whole season on the line, they'll have extra motivation to play their hearts out.