Last time the Chicago Bulls visited the TD Garden, all the buzz was about the homecomings of Brian Scalabrine and coach Tom Thibodeau. Now those two are old news, and the big story is the arrival of Bulls big man Carlos Boozer.
Boozer made his return Wednesday from a hand injury, and the Celtics are about to get their first look at a new-look Bulls lineup headlined by a walking double-double machine. A tough Eastern Conference opponent just got even tougher.
Bulls at Celtics
Friday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m. (ESPN, CSNNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
This is the second of four meetings this season between Boston and Chicago. The Celtics won the first in overtime, 110-105, despite 26 points and 12 rebounds from Joakim Noah. A big shooting night from Ray Allen and solid contributions from the bench, especially Glen Davis, were key in that game. The C's also split four contests with the Bulls last season, winning one at the Garden and one at the United Center in Chicago.
Kevin Garnett vs. Carlos Boozer
These two have a little history as Western Conference rivals, with KG in Minnesota (1995-2007) and Boozer with the Utah Jazz (joining them in 2004). Boozer's always been a scoring machine, and he'll be a tough individual matchup for KG on Friday night in Boston. But he also creates a lethal one-two punch on the glass with Joakim Noah, and Garnett will need a lot of help to win the rebuilding battle. Suddenly the Bulls have one of the best post presences in the NBA, and it's up to the Big Ticket to put up a big fight.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Shaquille O'Neal
Point guard: Derrick Rose
Shooting guard: Keith Bogans
Small forward: Luol Deng
Power forward: Carlos Boozer
Center: Joakim Noah
The Celtics won their first showdown with the Bulls last month, but the arrival of Carlos Boozer changes things. It's an entirely different offense — Derrick Rose doesn't have to take 25 shots anymore for this team to win, and he can ease in to his natural role as the team's distributor and playmaker. Rajon Rondo will still have to work to contain Rose, but now the Celtics' bigs are also faced with a tall order — boxing out a pair of elite post guys in Boozer and Joakim Noah. These new Bulls can beat you in a lot of ways, and the Celtics will have to be ready for all of them.
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