Good news: The Bulls are 4-2 and get to play a Celtics team at home that has looked discombobulated for much of the early season.
Bad news: Who has two thumbs, takes terrible shots and is the Bulls starting point guard tonight?
That's right! This guy!
(Sorry, that's the best picture there was. Our image databank is…not great. We're working on it.)
That's right, the great Nate Robinson will almost certainly be starting for the Bulls tonight as Kirk Hinrich is extremely unlikely to play because of a hip injury. So, not only will we likely see Robinson for 35+ minutes tonight, we get our first extended look at rookie Marquis Teague. After making his first appearance of the year on Saturday in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he looked surprisingly not awful, Teague figures to attempt to run the bench unit offense, which…could be problematic. Thus far, the bench offense has mostly devolved into 'stand around and watch Nate dribble around and hope something good happens. If it doesn't, crash the boards.' At the very least, Robinson is capable of hitting shots from time to time. Teague probably isn't.
On the bright side, as mentioned above, the Celtics haven't exactly looked like world beaters so far. They've won three games by a combined 13 points, with two of those wins coming against the Washington Wizards, who are currently without their two best players. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks at home by double digits, gave up 106 points to the offensively challenged Philadelphia 76ers at home in a loss, and lost on opening night by 13 to the Miami Heat. This is not a typical Celtics team — not yet, at least.
Now it's up to the Bulls to show up against Boston, which they should. These two teams have had a rather antagonistic relationship going back to 2009, when the Bulls took defending champion Boston to seven games in the first round of the playoffs, which only intensified when Tom Thibodeau left Boston to take over the Bulls in 2010. Regardless of who wins, this game will be hard-fought and probably chippy. And ugly. Can't forget ugly.
Key Matchup: Joakim Noah v. Kevin Garnett
The chances of these two almost getting into a fight at least twice tonight are approximately 100 percent. These guys don't really like each other, and both play such that they almost can't help pissing off their opponent. They are also both crucial to their team's success. Noah's energy and rebounding defines the Bulls and seems to dictate whether the rest of the team shows up or not. Garnett basically can't leave the floor without the Celtics defense collapsing. This matchup has been fascinating over the past few years and figures to stay that way.
Probable Starting Fives:
Boston Celtics: PG Rajon Rondo, SG Jason Terry, C Kevin Garnett, PF Brandon Bass, SF Paul PierceTags: Boston Celtics, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, Kevin Garnett, Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague, Miami Heat, Nate Robinson, NBA, Tom Thibodeau