Rajon Rondo Squares Off With Derrick Rose As Celtics Welcome Bulls to Garden

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Rajon Rondo Squares Off With Derrick Rose As Celtics Welcome Bulls to Garden For the Celtics, Nov. 5 has been marked on the calendar for a while as a homecoming of sorts.

The C’s are taking on the Chicago Bulls at the TD Garden, and that means a return to Boston for two prominent Bulls — head coach Tom Thibodeau, who was Doc Rivers‘ old assistant in Boston, and backup forward Brian Scalabrine, who spent five years in Boston. Homecoming might be emotional, but eventually these two teams will wipe away the tears and play some basketball.

When and Where

Bulls at Celtics
Friday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, CSNNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Head to Head

The Celtics and Bulls split four games last season, with each team winning once at home and once on the road. One especially easy win for the C’s was in the opening week — they stormed Chicago 118-90 on Oct. 30, 2009, getting 22 points, including five 3-point buckets, from Paul Pierce. The C’s have had the upper hand in this matchup historically, but the Bulls are a rising power to watch.

Key Matchup

Rajon Rondo vs. Derrick Rose
What a week for Rondo. On Tuesday, he outplayed Rodney Stuckey in Detroit; on Wednesday, he came home and shut down Brandon Jennings of the Bucks. Rondo has surpassed everyone’s expectations so far, but he’s about to draw his toughest matchup of the season to date in Rose. The No. 1 overall pick two years ago, Rose has quickly risen to power as the driving force behind the Bulls’ offense, taking tons of shots and demanding the ball in his hands for every play. Rondo can’t take a single possession off against the Bulls’ explosive young point guard.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Jermaine O’Neal

Bulls
Point guard: Derrick Rose
Shooting guard: Keith Bogans
Small forward: Luol Deng
Power forward: Taj Gibson
Center: Joakim Noah

Stat Sheet

Celtics

  • Paul Pierce scored 28 points in the Celtics’ win Wednesday night over the Bucks. He now has 20,005 points for his career, making him the fourth of the current Celtics to join the exclusive 20,000 club.
  • Rajon Rondo has 82 assists this season, an all-time NBA record for the season’s first five games.
  • Ray Allen has averaged 19.1 points per game on 41.7 percent 3-point shooting against the Bulls in his career.

Bulls

  • Joakim Noah leads the NBA with 15.3 rebounds per game.
  • Taj Gibson has made 19 of his first 29 field-goal attempts this season, or 65.5 percent.
  • Derrick Rose has averaged 18.3 points and 4.3 assists per game against the Celtics in his career.

Black and Blue

Celtics

  • Shaquille O’Neal is unlikely to play due to a bruised right knee.
  • Avery Bradley is still inactive as he recovers from ankle surgery.
  • Kendrick Perkins has a torn ACL and hopes to return in January.

Bulls

  • Carlos Boozer broke his hand last month and likely won’t return until December.

Outlook

The Bulls have had a solid start to their season without the services of the injured Carlos Boozer. In his absence, they’ve seen the youngsters Rose and Noah have emerged as the leaders of a young, energetic team that’s threatening to join the elites of the Eastern Conference. Against these Bulls, the Celtics will face their toughest test of the season since opening night against Miami. Rajon Rondo will need his A game to slow down Rose, but beyond that, it will take a valiant defensive effort and unselfish play on the offensive end for the C’s to pull this one out.

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