A pair of Eastern Conference teams are on the floor to do battle in Beantown. The Chicago Bulls are on the road as they travel to face the Boston Celtics Saturday night. Chicago was at home against Golden State Friday night in the front half of their back-to-back set. The Bulls were drubbed 139-118 by the Nets at home Wednesday night in their prior contest. Boston was in action on the road against Philadelphia in an Atlantic Division contest Friday night in the front half of a back-to-back set. The Celtics swept a home-and-home from the Pacers by prevailing 119-100 on the road Wednesday night in their previous contest. In the all-time regular season series between the teams, the Celtics own a 127-107 advantage but the Bulls have won the last three meetings. That includes a 128-114 road victory in the first meeting this season on November 1, 2021.
Chicago Bulls Looking to Maintain Top Spot in Eastern ConferenceChicago was in action at home against Golden State Friday night as they play the second game of a back-to-back situation here. After getting blown out by the Warriors late on Friday, the Bulls entered Saturday leading the Central Division by 1.5 games over the Bucks. They held the top seed in the Eastern Conference by one game over the Heat. Chicago is 5-3 in the second game of back-to-back situations this season with an even point differential (111.8 ppg for, 111.8 ppg against) in those contests. The Bulls are 12-7 on the road with a +0.6-ppg scoring differential (109.1 ppg for, 108.5 against) this season. Chicago is 18-8 against Eastern Conference foes with a +3.6-ppg scoring margin (111.3 ppg for, 107.7 ppg against) on the year.
For the year, Chicago stands 8th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 111.1 points per contest. The Bulls are 29th in rebounding as they collect an average of 42.9 boards a night while they are 14th in assists by handing out an average of 24 dimes per contest. Chicago is 17th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 108.6 points per game this season. Zach LaVine is second on the team with 24.9 points per contest on the year. DeMar DeRozan contributes 25.7 points a night while Nikola Vucevic (16 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists) and Lonzo Ball (13 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists) each average in double figures. Alex Caruso, Coby White (12.1 points), Javonte Green, Ayo Dosunmu, Derrick Jones Jr., Tony Bradley and Alfonzo McKinnie are looked at to provide valuable minutes as well. As a team, Chicago is 2nd in the league in field goal percentage as they knock down 47.4% of their shots on the year. The Bulls are 20th in the league by knocking down 11.7 three-pointers per contest while they stand 1st by hitting 38.5% of their attempts from beyond the arc on the year. Patrick Williams suffered a wrist injury against the Knicks on October 28. He underwent surgery and is expected to miss four to six months. Caruso (foot/protocols), Green (adductor), Jones Jr. (knee) and Tyler Cook (ankle) were all out Friday and are likely to miss this contest as well. LaVine left Friday's game with a knee injury and his status is unknown.
Boston Celtics Trying to Improve Playoff PositionBoston went into Friday’s action with Philadelphia having been winners of three straight games, but that streak was snapped in blowout fashion. The Celtics entered Saturday in last place in the Atlantic Division, six games behind the Nets for the top spot in the division race. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team is 11th, four games behind the Cavaliers for the final guaranteed playoff spot and half a game behind the 10th-seeded Knicks for the final spot in the play-in tournament. Boston is 5-3 in the second game of back-to-back situations this season with a +7.7-ppg scoring margin (113.8 ppg for, 106.1 ppg against) in those games. The Celtics are 13-8 at home with a +2.7-ppg scoring differential (106.7 ppg for, 104 ppg against) on the year. Boston is 15-12 against Eastern Conference foes with a +2.3-ppg scoring margin (107.2 ppg for, 104.9 ppg against) in those contests.
For the season, the Celtics are 18th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 107.6 points per game. Boston is 9th in the league in rebounding with 45.7 boards per contest while they stand 24th in assists by handing out 22.6 assists per game. The Celtics are 10th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 105.9 points per contest. Jaylen Brown is second on the team with an average of 24.4 points plus 6.4 rebounds per contest. Jayson Tatum contributes 25.5 points plus 8.4 rebounds per contest, Robert Williams III chips in 9.9 points, 9.1 rebounds plus 2.1 blocks a night and Josh Richardson adds 10.3 points per game. Al Horford (10.6 points, 7.4 rebounds) and Grant Williams (7.1 points) are other frontcourt options. Dennis Schroder (15.7 points, 4.4 assists), Romeo Langford, Marcus Smart (11.6 points, 5.3 assists), Juancho Hernangomez, Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith and Enes Freedom are other key rotation pieces for Ume Idoka. Boston is 23rd in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.5% from the floor this season. The Celtics are 14th in the league in threes per game as they hit 12.2 per contest while they are 24th in three-point field goal percentage by shooting 33.9% from beyond the arc. Smart (protocols) was out Friday night so keep an eye out for an update on his status here.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams are playing the second game of a back-to-back and have to travel after Friday’s contest to get here for this contest. With that said, Boston has sputtered offensively this season despite having the same nucleus of Brown, Tatum and Smart that was there a season ago. Chicago has climbed dramatically with the infusion of DeRozan, who leads the league in fourth-quarter scoring, and Ball alongside LaVine and Vucevic. The Bulls have shaken off injuries and COVID-19 issues to still put together the top mark in the Eastern Conference. They should be able to shake off the fatigue factor here to come up with the victory on the road.
Full-Game Total Pick
Chicago comes into this game having seen the under hit in 20 of their 39 games this season. The Bulls enter this game 13th in the league in tempo as they average 98.6 possessions per contest. With that said, they have split their last six contests in relation to the total coming into this game. Boston has seen the under go 23-18-1 in their 42 games on the year entering Friday’s action. The Celtics are just 25th in tempo with 96.5 possessions a night this season. They’ve stayed under the total in three of their last five games heading into the game with the 76ers. We saw 242 combined points in the first meeting this season to go over the mark, snapping a string of four straight unders in the series. Look for a return to form here as this one winds up short of the total.